Archive for April, 2014

Tribute to Grandma

It’s Easter weekend and, for me personally, that seems very fitting right now.

About a week ago, my grandma (my mom’s mom) had a stroke and she hadn’t been awake since.  In fact, I’ve had to go back and edit this because I later learned that while I was initially writing this on Friday evening, she left this life (at 6:15 p.m.) after living for 99 years.

Thursday evening, I attended “Stations of the Cross” with my parents over at North Cross UMC and we were reminded that often it’s more painful to deal with the pain of loved ones than the pain we’re feeling.  I know that I’ve personally found that to be true.  The fact that this lesson followed the story of Jesus & his mother Mary at the cross really brought it home as I watch my mom as she deals with issues surrounding her own mom.

Saturday morning is the Easter Egg Hunt at my church and one of my favorite memories of Grandma was when she and Grandpa would visit us in Kansas City and she would hide & find Easter eggs with my brother and me.  We’d take turns with one of us hiding the plastic eggs and the other two finding them; then, it would be time for someone else to hide them again.  It wasn’t until years later when I was talking to someone about an Easter Egg hunt and responded, “Wait, you mean you actually have something inside the eggs?”  For me, it was about the joy of finding the eggs, hiding them and watching someone else find what I’d just hidden.

Another memory of Grandma was playing Chinese Checkers.  She and I used to play whenever she visited and as her vision deteriorated, we had to be careful on which colors we chose to use so that she could keep playing.   I have no memory of winning or losing … only the joy of spending time with Grandma.

My grandma hand-made stuffed animal versions of the friends of Winnie the Pooh.  In fact, my brother lined them up to greet me home from the hospital when I was born.  Grandma was also Nurse Grandma whenever one of them was damaged but I was most impressed by Grandma when she chose to NOT completely fix one of them.  When my Eeyore’s tail came off, Grandma simply used a long stick pin to reattach it, in keeping with the story of Eeyore losing his tail.   This was simply brilliant insight and shows that she knew sometimes the best way to help isn’t what others might expect.

Grandma was also known for her sewing skills, whether it was making Quilts (out of yarn or plastic grocery bags) or making clothing for dolls.   I think Grandma would be happy to know my church youth group is currently making “plarn” (yarn from plastic bags) that our church is using to create mats for the homeless.

Grandma’s many projects impressed those around her; when she was at Sunnybrooke Assisted Living, they used to show visitors Grandma’s room and how she kept busy with so many different projects and how she was so happy all the time.  I think it gave visitors hope that they and their loved ones could also be happy living there.   Last spring, when I was visiting Grandma (repeating a recent tradition of bringing my mom to see her mom during the week of Mother’s Day) she mentioned that “Each day I decide to be happy.”

I’ve been told many times that when I was little, Grandma was visiting and sitting in the kitchen while Mom was cooking and saw me come in to get some cookies.  I was told I could have “Two cookies … only two cookies.”   Well, that’s how many I took.  However, I kept coming back and each time I said “Two cookies … only two cookies.”   Eventually, Grandma told me that I’d had enough but she let me get away with it for awhile.  Now that I’m a grandparent, I definitely understand you sometimes let grandkids get away with a bit more than you’d let the kids.

On Saturday morning, I will be hiding eggs at church and watching as little kids search for the eggs.  Some will be excited about the candy they find inside while others will simply be thrilled to have found the egg.

When Grandma wakes up in heaven, she will find herself with Father God as well as her parents and a couple siblings, her husband, and many other friends and family.    I think that perhaps they’ll be lined up to greet her … just like I was welcomed home by Winnie the Pooh and friends.   Grandma will be able to once again see to play games and also to knit and sew, doing the things she loves.   And Grandma … you can have as many cookies as you want.