Friday, September 18, 2015

Requiescat in Pace Mary Elizabeth

The blog has been quiet lately, with the end of summer and the new school year moving into full swing.  The two youngest are both enrolled in the local school districts and to attempt to keep my sanity I put our homeschool on the same calendar.  Which means we actually started school in mid-August!  (heavy on the sarcasm, I would have liked to wait a few more weeks).  I've had plenty of blog posts bouncing around in my head but before I get to any of those I wanted to get this one out there...

My paternal Grandmother, who just celebrated her 88th birthday on Easter Sunday and her 70th wedding anniversary this past December, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday night, August 23rd at 11:00 pm.  Our family attended her funeral on Thursday of that same week.  Since then my extended family has been scrambling a bit because my Grandma was the primary caregiver for my Grandpa.  I wanted to get this post out in memory of her, because she was such a big part of my life.  I'm sure her spirit is shining down on the family left to miss her here.
Grandma & Grandpa's 70th wedding anniversary!
My Dad (left) and Uncle

I think the thing that surprised me most about the funeral was seeing all the pictures of Grandma as a young lady.  My Grandma loved to collect pictures, she kept them all in boxes and managed to keep them in perfect condition.  She could pull out a picture from 1975 and it looked like she had just snapped it yesterday.  I am grateful that during the last few months she had started to go thru her picture collection and pull ones out for me and my sister.  She already had pictures in envelopes with our names on them.

The young couple!!
Grandma was born right before the Great Depression, the youngest of eight children.  She was a city girl who fell in love with a "country boy" and moved out to the middle of nowhere to raise a family with him.  Grandma went out to eat with me for my birthday this past year and I asked her what was one of the best things about moving out to the country.  She replied "Mom Leila's fresh cream butter".

In reflecting on her life I've thought a lot about how she spent it.  She never traveled very far, never went to see the ocean.  I don't recall her doing bake sales or serving on a school board.  She might have done volunteer work when my dad and uncle were still young, but I don't know.  Grandma didn't work a job that earned a paycheck.  What she did was totally invest in the lives of those around her, in particular her family.  I spent a lot of time with her as a young girl, she would always take me with her shopping or to the laundromat (before she had a washer and dryer installed at her house).  She always kept my favorite snacks in her fridge.  I never recall a time of her saying no to my request to spend the night at her house, she always said yes.  Grandma had a magical way of having the post office deliver your birthday card on your actual birthday, every time.  I always wondered how she pulled that off.  She sent us money every year in our anniversary cards and told us to use it to go out for a date to celebrate (a tradition I'm going to have to remember when my own kids get married)...

Grandma (right) and her sister

Grandma and her twin boys

Grandma, Grandpa, my Dad and Uncle

My Dad is an identical twin, and I can't identify him in the above pictures, but my Grandma could.  She could always tell them apart in pictures (and argued that they got them switched around in their senior yearbook in high school)!  Grandma didn't own a computer or a smartphone but I know she read my blog (I gave her a printed version for Christmas a few years back).  She was such a beautiful soul, inside and out,  I am so privileged that she loved me so much and I have the honor of calling her my Grandma.

One of grandma's favorites, she'd say
"those are my girls"

"We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become"
                                                  ~~ St. Clare of Assissi