Home with Jesus and Grandpa

On Wednesday at 12:30 my Grandma's body finally wore out and she left for heaven. The funeral is on Monday. Here are some things I wrote about her:


As I sit in my comfy chair with the baby blanket on my lap that Grandma started, my thoughts turn to memories of her.

I think of the soft blue and white afghan she made me—how it saw me through Bible School, college, a bad relationship, my many moves after getting married, and now how it keeps my son cozy.

I remember all the aunties bustling around in the kitchen getting Christmas dinner ready and filing past to get our food after singing the Doxology in four-part harmony. I remember being in awe of the cousins that got to sleep on one of several pull-out couches and the time I actually got to sleep on one (maybe for a piano or theory exam scheduled too early in the morning?)

I think of all the Christmas gifts received in triplicate by Tennille, Carla and I: rocking chairs, teddy bears, lamps, trunks, cookie jars…and how thankful I am she gave up on the electric shaver idea before she got to us. I think of Barbie doll clothes in the train case behind the big wet bar that was never really utilized as such, the goofy ostrich marionette, the fuzzy fur rug, the fake fire log, and the endless hours of TV tennis/handball/hockey (bleep, bleep b-bleep, aw!) I remember getting to take home a crocheted bell or snowflake from the Christmas tree, playing piano with Carla or Neysa or Tennille (or all of them!) for the Christmas carols, playing my instrument in the “band”, having one of those crunchy, sugary snowflake cookies after faspa, going sledding, eating turtles and Pot of Gold chocolates and getting in the coldish car to go home…all tired and excited.

I remember her black glass table and the swiveling chairs us grandkids could never sit still in. I remember the bumpy green glasses and matching pitcher, and the fine dishes with chrome/black edging. I remember the fancy dome butter dish and the funny woodpecker toothpick guy.

I remember the buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken and all the spicy green coleslaw and the macaroni salad. And the wet wipes and salt packages and plastic-wrapped cutlery. What a treat that was!

I remember the root beer and orange floats that came from the yellow split-door fridge. And watching in anticipation as the pop was poured over the ice cream…would it spill over?

I remember having races down the stairs, sliding on our bums and occasionally going too fast. That hurt! I remember the smooth stone-like grey floor at the bottom. I remember the little toilet paper dollies and the ever-present Reader’s Digest in the bathrooms. And all the different fuzzy bath mat and curtain sets. They were always so plush and fancy!

I remember playing in the backyard with an orangey-yellow ball with the red hexagons (?) and green(?) trim and having it go over the fence into the back alley and having someone venture back there with the galvanized garbage cans on a shelf, and thinking how funny cities are. And the big deck with the air conditioner underneath that kept getting crushed rock dropped into it. And the clothes-line/merry-go-round, and the little tiny underground sprinklers. And the garden shed that resembled a miniature barn. I remember the arches, all stuccoed in front of the brown stained wood with the plants hanging in baskets. I remember walks to Elmwood Park, going across the “scary” (suspension) bridge, feeling a bit lost at times, but following the older kids.

I remember watching Wheel of Fortune with Grandma. I was always amazed at all the shows she watched in an afternoon. There was always a crossword/search-a-word? On the go.

I remember her Chrysler New Yorker with the off-white leather seats fuzzy seat covers and how she drove all her friends around to go shopping or to church or to birthday parties. I remember her talking about Pete Yahnke’s (sp?) or Leila Jordahl or her Bible studies. I always admired her for the way she cared about her neighbours and their salvation.

I remember her hallways, always lined with the latest photos of her grandkids and how, on the 29th, she talked about getting one of the ladies at the home to help put up the new pictures we gave her.

I remember, during a period of writing Grandma on and off sometime after high school, receiving one of her notes with her spidery handwriting asking me some pointed questions about boys or something equally surprising. I was caught a little off guard by her frank, but humorous comments. I wish I knew where I put that letter (if I did indeed keep it). It was one of those rare moments of true connection, where the bond seems more like friendship than a grandparent/child relationship.

One other moment I’m especially fond of was when I announced to her that I was pregnant. (This was when she was in Kyle). She asked me how I was feeling—whether I had morning sickness or anything. When I said I felt great, she said, “Good girl…I didn’t either. The only thing that bothered me was cooking tomatoes.” Imagine my reaction when I got a bit nauseous while making spaghetti sauce. It was like a bonding moment: here, fifty years later or so, history was repeating itself!

I will always remember Grandma as a strong-minded, hard-working, practical woman with a love for her family and friends, her neighbours, the needy, and the lost. So glad you’re finally in heaven with Jesus and Grandpa!

1 comment:

Jude said...

Just want you to know I feel for you as you grieve your grandma's death. She sounds a lot like my grandma. Those older mennonite ladies can be quite surprising at times. I also feel the joy in your post, the joy that she imparted to her children and grandchildren that lives on, given out of the life she knew in Jesus. At my grandparents' funerals I always thought of the passage about God blessing the descendents of those who follow him. You live in that blessing. What a great gift. What a wonderful woman she was and is. Grieve, be sad, remember, be glad.