Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eleven Years Ago..

Hubby and I had been married just over a year.  We had moved out of the trailer park and into our first home.  We were actively involved volunteering at the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Fort Wayne and loving our church family.  Hubby and I were getting ready to go to Wed. night church when the phone rang and my sister on the other end told me that my Grandma had been killed in a car accident.  It is like all other traumatic events.  You remember right where you are.  And you are not sure what to do next.

My dad was devastated as he had always been so close to his mom and none of us were around to comfort him as even my mom was in Michigan staying with my sister's family.    My heart was so, so sad for him!

Hubby and I left for NW Iowa--11 hours from our house to bury my Grandma.  It was a weird shift for me.  For the first time in my life, I comforted my own dad.  I felt suddenly older.  It felt strange that the rest of the world seemed to go on unchanged as my world felt distinctly different.  Grandma lived alone as grandpa was in the nursing home.  As I walked into her house, knowing it would be the last time I was in that house--I tried to drink in and memorize all of the nooks and crannies.  There were bills on her desk with the checkbook and pen sitting open, beautiful squares of fabric waiting to be transformed into a quilt, hanger after hanger of dresses  that smelled so fresh and grandma-like.  I opened her bedside drawer and looked at all her "special to her things".  The only thing I recall is a napkin that had my parents name and wedding date on it.  She had kept that napkin in that drawer for 30 some years!

My grandma had mothered eleven children.  I cannot even tell you how many first cousins I have on that side of the family, but family get-togethers were always a blast!  It is so hard to believe that I have gone at least a decade without seeing many of them as we are scattered all over the U.S.

Now that I am a mom, I often wish I could call Grandma and ask her all sorts of things about how she did things with eleven children and lacking the modern conveniences I have!  She seemed to "do it all"  but somehow kept relationships as her priority.  None of us can EVER remember a time when she spoke ill of anyone.  Or complained.  She loved to serve and she did it with joy.

I write this post not with sadness, but with fondness.  A sweet sweet spot in my heart that feels so blessed to have possessed such a heritage of love.

Just this winter I tossed Minnie's pajamas in the dryer for 10 minutes before she dressed for bed as I remember Grandma doing that for me when I would spend the night.  I have quilts made by her donning my beds that she gave to me.  But my favorite thing she gave me was a little sewing kit when I graduated High School.  She made them and gave them to all of her granddaughters when they graduated.  I toted it to college with me and this special sewing box has had a priority place in each home in the six times I have moved since college.  I always know where to get just what I need from it.  She filled it with thread, scissors, measuring tape, needles, pins, buttons and so on.  If I need to fix something, I just need to get my little box from Grandma.

At the graveside, all of us grandchildren sang a hymn together and I remember seeing all the brilliant yellow  daffodils bringing such beauty to the scene.... the first glimpse of Spring.  Now, when the first daffodil heralds the arrival of Spring~ warm, sweet thoughts of my grandma flood my heart.

Just yesterday, another of her great-grandbabies was born.

Eleven years ago, and time goes marching on.  My two Mousekins came five and seven years after Grandma died in that car accident.  We still travel to NW Iowa as my husband's parents live there.  We drive past the house that holds beautiful vibrant memories of cousin-filled times and I point it out to my Mousekins--wistful that they cannot grasp her specialness.

Thank you God, that I can look back and thank you for your Greatness.  I am so thankful that Grandma did not have to grow "old" and suffer.  Thank you that she was a model of Your sacrificial love. I miss Grandma Alice and am so grateful that time takes away the sting of death.   I am so blessed to have a heritage of Faith in Jesus Christ--the Redeemer of our Sins. I am looking forward to heaven where there will be no more tears and no more good-byes, HALLELUJAH!


ljwenn said...

You don't know me, but I have known your dad's family since I was a young girl. My brother and your dad's oldest brother were in the service together and are as close as brothers to this day. I knew your Grandma well, she WAS a very special person. We were not able to attend her funeral, or we would have been there. I slept in her home, and ate many meals from her table. Tell your dad and mom a big hello.
Joyce Wenninger

arlan and katie said...

Ah, heart warms & screams many of the same emotions for my dear Grandma Doorneweerd...parenting makes you want to catch, hold & remember our childhood joys forever and a big part of that is our dear grandparents...

Thanks for the post...lovingly refreshing this morning!


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