I don’t even know where to start. I meant to tell you all this while you were still living. But I waited too long, and now you’re gone. I wanted to say how much you meant to me.
I tried to remember if you ever hugged me… I’m sure you did when I was small, though I don’t seem to remember it. But that’s okay; there was always plenty of love in that handshake of yours. Your cheerful face, all lit up and covered in smile lines, told us you were delighted to see us. Even when you were disappointed in me, I never doubted for one minute that you loved me. I know that in your culture, you’re not accustomed to much warmth and affection, so I’ve kept inside all those things I wanted to say. You see, I’m not so good at getting my thoughts out in the form of spoken words. Plus I didn’t want you to shake your head and chide me for “flattering” you, and I didn’t want to cry and make you uncomfortable. But now I just have to hope you knew.
I hope you knew how much I loved you, Grandmother. You were such a part of my life from childhood until now. I watched you and Granddaddy with admiration as you grew older and older together. I could see how you loved each other with a beautiful, steady love. I hoped to someday find love like that; and I’ve been so blessed. Thank you for your example!
I hope you knew how much I cherish the memories. Memories of you and Granddaddy singing together, “Kneel at The Cross”, your soprano blending with his bass. I remember how you would have all the grandchildren who were in school for a sleepover at your house once a year, and that on those occasions, we always had blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and… you let us drink coffee! A highlight, because our parents didn’t let us drink it every day.
I have memories of you coming to help us on busy days at our farm. Corn working days, turkey butchering days, and many other occasions, you and Granddaddy would show up in your work clothes, with smiling faces and willing hands.I remember you and Grandaddy greeting us on the porch with hearty handshakes when we came to visit. Granddaddy in his low voice, would always say “Howdy!” and you would beam and say “How-do!” I never stopped to evaluate this greeting like I am now… never stopped to wonder if you were asking a question, (how do you do?) or if that was just your funny way of saying hello. I just know it was you. It was your signature greeting, and I’ll never hear you say it again on this earth.
When I was very young, I remember giving you a fit one day, because you served me noodles, and I didn’t like noodles. I assured you that I was not eating them, but you informed me that I WOULD be eating them that day. You won. AND you told Mom. But thats ok. I like noodles now, and almost every time I eat them, I think of you. So many memories. I was going to tell you how much I treasure them. But I waited too long.
These last years have held some hard times for you. I watched you struggle to accept that your body was slowing down, and you needed some help around the house. I admired you, as you accepted the help that you really didn’t want. You knew you needed it, and you responded in true gratefulness. But you didn’t let it make you lazy! Oh no! you did everything you could to make our jobs easier. Almost every time it was my turn and I would show up to clean, you would have the rugs already shaken, and hanging over the railing. You would insist I was doing more than what was necessary. You felt like you were being a burden, but trust me, we were cherishing the moments we had with you. I don’t know if you knew how special those days were to me. I probably didn’t do a very good job of telling you.
Just over a week ago, I stood in your kitchen with some more of your grandchildren, and at your request, sang one of your wedding songs in honor of your 64th anniversary. As we sang those words, “When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain,” I looked up to see Granddaddy holding your hand. That memory will be bringing tears to my eyes for years. And now, days after your anniversary, you’re gone.
Today I stood and looked at your once-busy hands, lying so still and cold, and I cried. I thought about how in times like this, people say “we sure wouldn’t wish her back.” I am probably a selfish and horrible person, but I do want you back! Of course I don’t wish you were back in your suffering, and I don’t wish you had to deal with all the sorrows and tests of life. I just wish I had more time to love you. To repay you for all your sacrifices over the years, and tell you all those things I meant to say.
I don’t know what life without you is going to be like, but I miss you already.
I pray you’ve found peace and rest.
I love you.