my grandmother passed away this week. she was 100, so it wasn't tragic or shocking, but it has caused me to slow down and reflect. remember.
she was a beautiful person. the kind of person that doesn't have a selfish bone in her body. the kind of person who is always smiling and lighthearted, no matter her circumstances. we had a wonderful visit with her at Christmas, and while she couldn't remember necessarily what she'd done the day before or had for lunch, she sat and laughed and talked with us. she giggled at her great-granddaughter, stumbling around and playing peekaboo behind the folding chair. she ate one of the buckeyes we brought her, because she is a female in our family, and we all get our sweet tooth from her. and when you're 100, you certainly don't need to watch what you eat.
we used to visit her out in deshler when we were younger. she lived in the country on a farm, and my sister and I loved playing outside there with all that space. on one specific visit, grandma took us outside, and peered behind one of her bushes to reveal several adorable newborn kittens. oh how my heart filled with glee! she smiled at us as we picked them up and they clung to us with their tiny claws. a few months later, they had grown and could now run (...from us...I can't imagine why...). Em and I were so proud to have cornered one in the barn. looking back, we probably terrified the poor little thing. I remember just wanting to hold its fluffy little self -- we had the best intentions!
grandma still had the dolls my mother and aunt played with as children, and Em and I always wanted to play with these. we'd sneak into the cold guest room and dig them out of the closet, bringing them out into the warmth of the living room to brush their hair.
every Christmas, grandma got sheets of stick-on earrings. heart-shaped and glittery and sometimes, if we were really lucky, princesses. oh how I hated when my sheet ran out.
then we'd all sit around the kitchen table as mom gave grandma a permanent, getting cookies & those delicious sugary wafers from the cellar. once the rollers were in, we could play cards. grandma was a card shark and never "let" us win. she'd always somehow get the best cards and just grin as she racked up the points. "can I be grandma's partner in euchre next, please?" it felt like Em and I always lost. nothing that more sugar wafers couldn't fix, though.
we had a party for grandma this past October to celebrate her 100th birthday. she smiled and greeted everyone, ate cake, and told us that she didn't need "all this fuss".
I will say my final goodbye to her, my last grandparent, on Wednesday. but I know she is happy and free and doesn't have to struggle to remember anymore. and I am thankful to have known her. thankful to her for raising such a loving and selfless daughter to be my mother. God is good. all the time. and she is up there with Him, now.