Thursday, December 15, 2011

Psalm 147:3

My Gram has passed away, and we are mourning. If I owned sackcloth, I think I'd be in it. It's completely surreal that she is gone and I think it will be a long time before my heart really believes it. The strange thing is that it has felt like she's been gone for a long time, and I've been mourning small pieces of her for years.

{1943, three years before she had my mother}

We began suspecting Alzheimer's years back, when she would forget the little things, or repeat herself. It crept up slowly, stealing her a little at a time. It is a hateful disease. Her personality changed as she lost her memory, and she wasn't the same Gram I had known as a little girl. I would see the woman I knew when she would talk with my children, loving and sweet. She just adored the children.

My earliest memory of her is of the smell of Ivory soap, as I took a bath at her home. The smell of that soap is her, in a tangible way to me. I have a colored pencil drawing of a small blue bird that hangs in my bedroom. I look at it every morning when I wake up. It hung in her house for a long time. She loved birds, and had pictures and figurines of them all over her house. I think of her every time I look at that picture.

{Gram in the center, between her brothers & parents}

Gram was our Matriarch. Grandad Raymond died when he was 43, and Grandad Clayton died three years after they married. It was really only ever Gram for us. I learned how to sew with her and my mother. She went on trips with us. We lived with her all summer long in the country.

{With Grandad Clayton, 1978}

I spent those summers on her farm playing in the barn, crick and woods with my brother Ted. I have a stockpile of happy memories from those summers. I remember playing Uno and Rummikub together, and rescuing baby mice in the garage under the house.

{With all ten of her grandchildren, about 1984 I think}

I have hundreds of letters from her. She wrote to all of us all the time. When we cleaned out her house, I found lists of who she had written to and when, so she wouldn't forget anyone. I found piles of church bulletins from her ceaseless church attendance. She had a box full of notes from when she taught Sunday school. She loved Jesus and served Him her whole life. I am blessed to be her granddaughter. She left us a wonderful legacy.

{With TC, on Mother's Day, 2007}

She adored all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would touch TC's red hair and croon to him about how we would keep him. She and her brothers all had red hair. I know that we all have her blood, but I love that my son has her red hair that I can still touch, and remember Gram, remember being in her arms and feeling so loved.

{with her brothers Hesson, Ord, Keith}

I miss you so much already. My heart breaks anew every minute. I am happy for you, reunited with so many people you have loved and missed. I can only imagine your reunion with Grandad, since he was taken from you much too soon. And my cousin Owen, how you must be holding him in your arms with such joy right now.

I love you so much. Be at peace, my sweet Gram. We will be okay. You raised us all well, to know and love Jesus. We will be okay.


Julie said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Gram. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I especially think it's amazing how she was loving and sweet with your children even as the Alzheimer's got worse.

I know what you mean about the sackcloth. When my father in law passed away it was the first time I really understood why people wore black to funerals.

Your family is very much on my heart and mind and will continue to be in my prayers during this time of mourning and missing your grandma.


KateO said...

I am so sad for your loss.
Our grandmother's had a lot in common and your post about her is so beautiful, I am sitting here sobbing. I know you will miss her. And I am thankful that she is at peace and didn't get to such a sad state of the alzheimers.
Praying for your comfort.
I want to call you right now, but I think it would be a mess of sobs on both ends.

Beacon2Light said...

Fabulous tribute, Shay; well written, vulnerable and endearing.

Theresa said...

Thank you Shay for sharing your memories and your heart with me. She will be missed more than words can say.

Jeff and Meg said...

I'm so sorry Shay. You've been in my prayers the last few days.

Anonymous said...

Jen Germana:

This is a lovely honoring of your Gram. You & your family are in my thoughts & prayers. ♥

Thenonbloggingfriend said...

What beautiful memories you've shared Shay. You make me remember the summers with my own Gramama and Granpa at the lake.
My heart aches for you<3