I said good-bye to one of my dearest friends, my Grandma, yesterday. As she became more ill and I knew the end was drawing near, I was painting this piece: trying to process grief and also my great hope and faith that, even though the end of her life on earth would come, we will stand together one day with the Lord.
My Grandma passed away last week, and we celebrated her life yesterday. I read these reflections at the service:
I am incredibly blessed to cherish a lifetime of love and memories with my Grandma and friend, Marian Jenness. We spent a lot of time together. I was so lucky to not only be related to her, but to “do life” with her for many years.
When I was little, I spent a lot of time with my fun-loving Grandma. She took care of me as a baby for an afternoon a week while my Mom worked. She taught me how to blow bubbles with gum and how to fish. My brothers and I loved spending time with Grandma and Grandpa at their mountain cabin. She always kicked Grandpa out of bed so we could sleep with her, a tradition that continued with my own children.
When my husband, David, came into my life, she welcomed him and his family with open arms and couldn’t have loved them more, even if they were blood-related.
Grandma was there for the big things like weddings and birthdays, but she was also there for all the little things. She was the kind of friend who would drive to Denver with me on a mundane errand, just to keep me company. We canned jelly with the grapes from my yard, met for lunch, shopped at the Dollar Store, and cheered on my kids at their games. We did so much together. When we saw each other, she wanted to hear all the latest updates on my kids and their friends.
Grandma was always there when we needed her. She helped with our kids, brought us meals and listened to life’s joys and challenges. And if there was anything she could do about the challenges, she did. She taught me so much about how to serve people.
She loved to give, most of all things she made like crocheting projects and food. She made blankets for all her great grand-kids, and even two for my son Jedd after he wore out his first. As it became harder for her to cook, she narrowed her recipes down to simple banana bread and cookies. We never left her house empty-handed. Even in the memory care facility, when she could no longer cook, she insisted that David and I help her take a store-bought cookie down the hall to a new friend.
As difficult as it was, I will always be grateful that David and I had the honor of helping her through the last days of her life. In my last conversation with her, when she could no longer speak herself, my mom and I described the basics of the Gospel to her – that if there is anything she regrets, it is all forgiven because of Jesus; she has always been loved; and He has always been with her. That He will welcome her with so much love.
My mom and I asked her, “You know these things, right?”
And she was able to answer, “Yes.”
Then we told her, “This is how it will happen. We will be holding your hands, we’ll be right there with you. You will never be alone. We will walk with you right up to Jesus and He will take your hand. You’ve never been alone – He has always been with you.”
And that is exactly what happened. My aunt Pam, my mom, and I held her hands and “walked” her right up to Jesus, speaking words of love over her. We can only imagine the joy they both felt as they finally saw one another face-to-face.
As I say my final, “See you later, Grandma,” what means the most is that there is nothing left unsaid. “I love you” are words we often said to one other and meant with all our hearts.
Always and forever, I love you Grandma.