Song Lyric of the Day:
Somebody saved me from the world you left / If you’re gonna cry my tears / If you’re gonna hold my breath / If you’re gonna let me see the sun you set / Oh, I am lost and found / Oh, I am lost and found
Katie Herzig / “Lost and Found“
My grandmother-in-law is being laid to rest this morning in Iowa. Grandma Lee passed away last Thursday after suffering a stroke. And even though she reached the impressive age of 99, I think I took it for granted that she would live forever — she was just so spunky and full of life that it’s hard to imagine that life would ever come to an end.
I first met her back in 1998 when I accompanied Rich to Iowa for the first time. Grandma Lee was a tiny little thing — tiny but mighty. Mighty enough to have raised four kids. Mighty enough to have been a nurse. Mighty enough to beat breast cancer. And lord, was that woman quick with a comeback. Her snappy wit could (and probably did) cause whiplash in those fortunate enough to be witness to it.
The last time I saw her was September 2011. It’s really hitting home for me that the last time I saw her was truly the last time I would ever see her. Which is why I’m writing this through yet more tears. But I was lucky enough that my last visit with her was also the first (and only) time she would meet her great-granddaughter Coraline, which was a wonderful thing to behold. Coraline was almost 1 year old and more interested in running around the nursing home than sitting still, but I still managed to get some nice shots of her with Grandma Lee. While Grandma Lee didn’t quite remember me, she did remember her grandson Rich and knew that Coraline was his daughter.
I wish with all my heart I could be there with our family in Iowa to not only say my final farewell to Grandma Lee, who treated me like one of her own grandkids, but to be there to console my husband and father-in-law and our many other relatives as they lay this sweet, incredibly beloved woman to rest. I may be mourning from afar, but I hope everyone there knows I’m with them in spirit.
After our visit to Iowa, Rich’s Aunt Linda sent Coraline the most amazing birthday present, a hardbound book of photos from our visit with Grandma Lee. And while Coraline will never remember on her own meeting her great-grandma, Rich and I will never forget.
Song Lyric of the Day:
Through many dangers, toils and snares / We have already come / Twas grace that brought us safe thus far / And grace will lead us home
I knew Rich’s Grandma Edwards liked me the first day she met me, simply based on the fact that she felt comfortable enough to change outfits in front of me within minutes of meeting me. I’d accompanied Rich to his grandparents’ farm in Iowa to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary that April 1997. Rich found it very amusing that Grandma Edwards had stripped down to her slip and underwear, chattering away with me the whole time. He later told me that, later that same day, she’d taken him aside and told him I was a keeper.
The last time I saw her was last spring, when Rich and I went to Storm Lake, Iowa, for his cousin Kerry’s wedding. Grandma Edwards had fun showing off her bright blue nail polish; she’d asked the manicurist to make her nails match her wedding outfit, which happened to be bright blue. She was impressed I thought it was cool; seems a few people found it odd that this grandmother had dared to paint her nails blue.
So it was with a broken heart that I accompanied Rich to Iowa on Wednesday. We had gotten the call from his mother, Carol, that Celesta left us Sunday night at 6PM. We like to think that she would’ve loved the fact that we were at a wedding when we heard the news: What better way to hear that this amazing woman’s life had come to an end than when a young couple was starting a new life of their own together?
While the viewing Thursday night was hard, her funeral service yesterday morning was even harder. I don’t think it was harder because we’re all sad that she’s passed away (which, of course, we all are), but it was harder because, hearing about her life and her love of her faith, family, friends, and fun, we were all just so saddened to be reminded of how much love and sheer joy she brought to all our lives.
I’m truly honored to have been embraced by her and to have become a part of her family. Like Rich, Carol, Doug, Kirsten, and too many others to name, I’ll miss her the rest of my life.
Grandma Edwards makes Rich beg for cookies.
Filed under grandma, grief, iowa
Song Lyric of the Day:
By my side you’ll never be / By my side you’ll never be
Unkle Bob / “Swans“
Today is the one-year anniversary of the day my grandmother died. I’ve been home alone all night and was already a bit weepy thinking about her, but that last scene of an already very emotional episode of Grey’s Anatomy, the one between Denny and Izzie, sent me over the edge. It really hit home how, no matter how recently or how long ago you lost a loved one, they’re never too far from your thoughts.
I really miss my Abuela Maria. Now if only I could stop crying.
Filed under grandma, grief