Friday, May 24, 2013

In Memory of Grandma Marj

One of the best women I've ever known departed this life today. It was expected. My grandma Marj's health has been failing for quite some time, and we got word this morning that she probably had no more than 3 or so days left to live. These photos were taken last July before my grandma moved to AZ to live with my aunt.

I have such mixed emotions. Of course, I am sad. My grandma will be missed. But I am also so grateful...grateful that she no longer has to suffer. Grateful for the beautiful reunion that is occuring for my grandma and grandpa. Grateful for the loving marriage that they shared for 65 1/2 years on this Earth, and that it can continue now on the other side. Grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings me peace, because I know that I will see them again. Grateful for the beautiful lives that both my grandma and grandpa lived. Grateful that I was able to be taught so many important lessons by them. Grateful that I had them in my life for so long. So much to be grateful for.

I grew up living just a couple of miles from my grandma. She picked me up from school most days when I was in elementary school, and she was always our babysitter while my parents worked or when my parents were gone. She always liked to tell a story about one day when I was in first grade, I think. She lost track of time and was late to pick me up. SHe was so worried as she drove over to the school. She thought I would be in tears and she felt really bad. When she apologized, I said something like, "It's okay, grandma. I knew you would come." She always told that story to say what a good girl I was, how calm and patient, but I think it speaks much more about her character than mine. I knew my grandma would come. I knew I wouldn't be forgotten. I knew I could trust her.

My grandma was a good cook. I particularly liked her homemade macaroni and cheese and her Skousen enchiladas (kind of like enchiladas but with a green sauce, I think, and using crushed tortilla chips rather than tortillas).

She also had great artistic ability. I remember spending many hours as a child making homemade paper dolls. She would draw the dolls, and we would help her design and color the clothing. I honestly don't remember playing with the dolls that much. But we spent hours making them.

She read my sisters and I many stories. A few years ago, I was given many of the children's books that she had read to us as children. I've treasured them and will continue to treasure them now.

She loved her family. Many of her children or grandchildren lived with her and my grandpa during times of transition or times of difficulty. When my parents divorced, my mom, my sisters and I moved in with my grandma and grandpa. It was a great help to my mom and helped bring some needed stability for my sisters and I. The truly remarkable part of all of this is that she is my dad's mom (although she's always said that it wasn't remarkable at all, that she simply loved my mom as if my mom were her own daughter.)

My grandma loved children. She cared for many of her grandchildren and even a great grandchild. She also tended neighbor children and her door was always open for neighbor children who needed a safe place to play, a snack after school or just someone to give them a hug.

My grandma also served others regularly. When I heard Elder Packer speak aboutbeing Anxiously Engaged in October 2012 conference and how we each need to contribute through small, daily acts of service and love, his message struck a particular chord with me. Because my grandma had taught me that same sermon as a child and teenager...both through her words and her actions. She never taught me the cool facts about bees, but I can remember her telling me that each day she prayed to have the chance to serve, and that nearly every day the Lord answered her prayers. I can remember her taking a sister with special needs that she visit taught to doctor's appointments and to the grocery store. I can remember her calling someone on the phone because she felt they maybe needed a call and then spending an hour or more talking to them and listening to them. She didn't just make a monthly visiting teaching visit, she served and loved the sisters she was assigned to, often visiting them much more often than once a month. She willingly magnified her church callings. She was a great example of love and service. I am trying to follow in her footsteps. I have a long way to go, but I am trying to do a little better each day.

Next to my parents, my grandma and grandpa shaped my life more than anyone else. I love them dearly and I am grateful for their involvement in my life. May God be with you till we meet again, Grandma!