At the beginning of the year I was asked what one word I would set as a goal for myself and I chose the word courage. I have a lot of big plans, dreams and goals I will achieve this year and I felt that I needed to have the courage to face some of the tasks ahead of me and to do a better job of standing for myself. Little did I know that a few short days into the year I would have to have the courage to face the death of my wonderful Grandmother.
My grandmother passed away on January 7. It was a complete shock to all of us. When my husband came home and told me the news I couldn’t react. I went back to chopping vegetables as I tried to process the news.
Passed away? No, no. We were with her at the end of December and she was doing well. She was spunky and so excited to have all of her family together at Christmas. It was a Christmas gift she had been dreaming of for so long. And now she’s gone.
Sunday we had a celebration of life ceremony for her. My mother asked each of us to read a verse of The Four Candles poem during the ceremony and this is what I was asked to read:
No one knew that I was focusing on courage this year and yet here I was standing in front of everyone sharing how my candle represents courage. My Grandmother had to know. There was no way this was left to chance.
I was fortunate to have a close relationship with my Grandparents. My Grandfather, Johnny, was a wonderful man. He was strong, courageous and so loving and kind towards me. I knew that he loved me with all he had. My mother told me that my Grandmother always appreciated how much I loved Johnny.
When I was a little girl my Grandparents would babysit me on the weekends. We’d go to the playground, run errands and make special memories together.
My mother worked at Joslins, a department store in Colorado. My Grandparents would take me to the mall and we’d wait for my mama to have dinner or get off of work. I remember sitting in the food court eating chow mein with them while Grandma would paint my nails. They would take me to the fancy stores where they’d buy me sparkly purses and patent leather dress shoes for me dress up in. I’d wear my heels and purse proudly through the mall while holding my Grandparents’ hands. I was their little girl too.
Just like Johnny, Grandma was at all of my dance recitals, cheerleading competitions, seeing me off to prom and all of the events that were so important to a child growing-up. I’ve been so blessed to have a close family who was there through thick and thin.
Johnny passed away before my wedding day and any of his great-grandchildren were born. Grandma was there for the next chapter in my life.
I remember her being so beautiful at my wedding. It was a truly treasured gift to have a living Grandparent at my wedding.
But even more amazing, she had a relationship with my three children. How many kids can say they had a Great-Grandmother let alone have a relationship with her? Just like my childhood, Grandma was at CC’s baseball games, Gracie’s dance recitals, Lulu’s birthday party. There wasn’t a momentous occasion in their young lives that she missed.
I’m so happy that I have videos and pictures of her with my kids. Her memory will not be forgotten.
The kids sent balloons to heaven telling her goodbye. CC wrote that he will always keep her alive in his heart and that someday he’ll see her again. I picture heaven as a place where everyone who tried hard and loved harder are all together celebrating and cheering on all of us still here. I know both of my Grandparents are still encouraging me every step of the way.
My love of fashion, beauty and all things feminine stems from my Grandmother. I found her senior yearbook and her dream was to be a fashion designer in Paris. She was once engaged to man who was from Nashville (my dream city), she loved high heels and she always bought the best skincare and beauty products. I’m going to keep a piece of her alive by always being a girlie girl and embracing my femininity.
With her passing I felt the end of a chapter in my life. Even though I’m a 30-something woman, having my Grandmother alive made me feel like I was still a little girl. I’m no one’s Granddaughter anymore and now my parents are the elders.
My Grandmother was a life member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans Commanders Club and my Grandfather was a WWII veteran who honorably served his country. I’ve donated in their remembrance to the Disabled American Veterans and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
In the words of her favorite television show, “like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
I love you, Grandma.