My dear Grandma Gertie passed away yesterday afternoon from a lengthy bout with kidney problems. She’s my dad’s mom. Raised her family about three miles from where I type. In reflection, I want to put just a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned from my grandmother over the years…
1) “Let go & let God.” – That was her most quoted phrase. I think she got it from Al Anon. I didn’t always agree with when she applied it, but it’s still the words I think of most when I think of Grandma. That & “Oh, Lawsy!” accompanied by her high pitched, cute, little giggle Dad inherited from her. You should hear it on a man. : ] Makes me smile just to think about it. Anyway, sometimes it’s true. Sometimes you just need to let go & let God deal with it. Let it go. I think that’s where Philippians 4:6 & 7 come in:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
2) Lipstick – gotta have it. Now this lesson I admittedly flunked big time. I mean I get a zero here. But Grandma taught it by the way she lived. World-War-2-bombshell red until you’re seventy or so, then blushing pink from then on out. That is a fundamental “must have” on a woman. She never said anything to me about my lack of it. (Chapstick only here, please.) I really can’t picture her without it.
3) “A little dab’ll do ya.” – Grandma said this one a lot. It should be emblazoned on my refrigerator in gold letters, this glittering mantra of moderation. If only we could remember to live by it in all areas of life, we’d be a lot better off!
4) Playing a few rounds of Yahtzee & putting a jigsaw puzzle together gives you lots of time to talk with your grandchildren. “You’ve got your onsies & your threesies left…” And she called it Yat, rhymes with scat. Not Yahtzee. It is a great game, you have to admit that.
5) Spending a lot of time around someone doesn’t mean you are close to them. Your children will not tell you how they feel or what they need unless you ask them, pay close attention, & genuinely want to know. So I am going to ask them. I vow to stay close to my young’uns & ask those deep questions, like my folks did for me. I have seen first hand that even when your children grow older, they never outgrow their need for your genuine love & affection. If you don’t give them that, there’s a forever hole in their heart that only God by His grace can fill. And I have seen Him fill it, too! So I know He can: He can do anything! But I don’t want to leave for God to do what He gave me the joy & privilege to do.
6) Keep short lists of offenses. People matter more than whatever dumb thing you’re all tied up in knots about right now.
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
– Ephesians 4:26-28. Grandma spent more than a few years regretting time spent upset with one or another person. She would be the first to tell you it ain’t worth it!
7) Quilts are a beautiful work of love & art. They were one of Grandma’s love languages. I can not imagine spending as many hours as she did quilting, knitting, & crocheting only to give it all away!!! Some were functional, others were very artsy, but all were made with her children & grandchildren in mind & were her way of telling us we mattered a whole bunch to her.
8 ) Genes are funny things. I see Dad in Grandma’s hands, which in turn showed up with Aunt Barb’s hands. I love those hands. Ever busy little sausage fingers! The eyes & giggle showed up in Aunt Mary Lou. The buxom build, yet remarkably flat back end is my reminder I’m Grandma’s, which I share with Aunt Barb. Grandma may be with Jesus, but there are reminders of her in all of us. That’s the way God made it.
9) Grandma taught me how to slow down & smell the roses, literally. She enjoyed God’s creation more than anyone I know: flowers, birds, seasons, trees, fruit, nuts, & mushroons. Yes, I spelled that the way I wanted to. That’s how she said it. I will forever think of her when I stop & hear birds singing (Grandma Birdie) or teach my children the difference between a geranium & a marigold. She passed that on to Dad who in turn passed it on to us. I’ll always fondly remember her front yard covered with those beautiful daffodils, and I do mean covered. I bet if I could take a peek in Heaven right now, Dad is showing her all the beautiful gardens God has entrusted to his care & she is “Oh, hey! Look at that!”ing about each gorgeous bud & critter. I can see it as clear as if I were standing there.
Well, I’m sure I will think of others as time goes on, but for now I need to call Mom & see if she needs anything & what I can do to help with food, etc. You know how that goes. People are coming in for the funeral so there’ll not be want for things to do around here. I don’t have the picture I want of Grandma on this computer, so that will have to wait. Just had to take a an hour this morning to reflect before life marches on.
PS – My sister-in-law put this on her blog. Love it! Thanks, Valerie!!
(Dad baptizing Grandma a few years ago.)