Monday, September 26, 2011

Tribute to my Grandma

Dear Grandma-

First off, congrats on your new and improved living quarters! I am confident you are happy beyond belief- and that you have had a wonderful reunion with your siblings, parents, and husband. I imagine there was a big banquet held in your honor- with loved ones surrounding you, telling you how much they've missed you and how glad they are to have you with them. I imagine you enjoyed some delicious rhubarb pie and maybe a close version of JoDee's Taco soup. :) Did you favor everyone with your delightful retelling of The Happy Prince?

I imagine how beautiful you must look. Your spirit free from the confines of your earthly body. Hands able to move, energy to walk, no more oxygen tubes. I bet your hair looks beautiful, too. ;)

Oh Grandma. How glad I am for you to finally be able to rest from the cares and pains of this world. How excited I am for you to finally be able to continue your mission with Grandpa. How thrilled I am for you and the joy you must be experiencing.

But, I must confess. I miss you terribly. I am selfishly miserable that you are gone. Grandma- I don't think you know how very, very much you mean to me.

When I was engaged to your incredibly handsome grandson, I was so excited to have grandmas again. I loved visiting you at Jamestown. Patrick and I brought you your favorite- rhubarb pie- made greatly with the help of Mom. You were so excited! Remember that strawberry pie we brought? Yeah, the one that was so runny we had to eat it in bowls? It was a joke, but you were so kind. :)

Patrick and I played Pass the Pigs last night in your memory. Pretty sure you were on my team. Thanks for the dominating wins. ;) Yes, we played with the game you gave us. Thanks. :)

We're missing our BYU buddy this season. As I'm sure you're now aware, our Cougs have been a bit disappointing. Maybe you could send them some 'improvement' vibes? We had such fun watching the games at your place- even that time you insisted Patrick must be freezing and gave him all the blankets (I was pregnant with Christian, and you said I had my own internal 'hotbox')- and really I was the one freezing. :)

The kids sure love their Grandma Great. Christian started calling you that when he was tiny, and the name stuck. Oh, Christian. You and he shared such a special bond. We stopped to visit you before he was even a week old, and you loved holding him. A few weeks later, we came to visit again- and working your magic, you got him to coo and smile and giggle- which he had never done before and didn't repeat until much later. You loved to remind us of that special time. I've always believed Heavenly Father granted us all that small miracle- a treasured moment for each of us.

Grandma Great and Christian, 6 days old

I remember Christian grabbing your finger and squeezing- and you laughing that he could 'milk a cow with that grip!'.

Milking a cow

Channing loved his Grandma Great kisses- and a few times would insist we go back to your room so he could give Grandma Great some loves.
Channing and Grandma Great

We've been fortunate to inherit your little brass chair lamp. That simple lamp makes me smile each time I see it. You would hold my boys on your lap and flick that light on and off. It was magical to them. And magical to me to watch you with them. It will have a treasured place in our home. And I will think of you and your inner light every time I see it.

Jan 14th, 2010 was a special day for our little family. We welcomed a tiny, beautiful baby girl to our lives. Thanks for letting us use your name. We hope to frequently tell her all about the amazing woman whose name she carries- and that she lives it up well.

Anna Marie Summerhays b. Jan 14th 2010 and Anna Laura Summerhays b. Jan 14, 1917.

Grandma, thank you for welcoming me so readily. You immediately took me in as one of your own- loved me and cared for me. I truly felt like part of your family. That has meant so very, very much to me. Thank you for your continual praise and support. Every time I left your presence I felt like I was a pretty great person. You never judged or criticized- just loved. The world needs more people like you. :)

I smile remembering the funny stories you would tell us- about your wedding ring, about your brothers, about life. I loved how supportive and admiring you were about Patrick and his teaching career and musicianship. You loved to hear him play his saxophone. He played for you several times when we would visit. Remember that night we came and sang and played for you at Beehive? You were pretty proud to have our little 'musical' be there just for you. :) Thanks for appreciating our talents. It was so fun to play for you. Remember singing some hymns together? That was special, too.

Patrick and I have always felt that music can reach to the soul when nothing else can- and that's why I really wanted him to play for you the last night we saw you. I knew that you would appreciate music. I have a small confession. My Grandma Spong had severe Alzheimers- and lived with us the last few years of her life. I remember gathering in her bedroom with my family and singing I am a Child of God as she took her final breaths. Even as a young girl, I was so touched by that- and I could sense the peace her spirit felt as her room filled with our simple singing and as her spirit left this mortal existence. I remember feeling that that song was a little pathway between earth and heaven- as she left us to enter eternity.

That's why I wanted to sing that song for you that last night.

I am self-conscious of my public mourning of your absence. After all, I didn't grow up with you. I'm just an 'in-law'. I don't have memories of your camping trailer. Of your home. I only know you from nursing homes and the Gardines. I only know the you that used a walker, that laid in bed. I only know you with gray hair and troubled hands. But I love you.

I am grateful for our final embrace- I looked at you and said, with the my deepest sincerity and fighting the tears in my eyes:

'Thanks for being my Grandma'.

And I will ever hold dear your response- looking directly into my eyes:

"Thanks for being my granddaughter".

I Love You.

I Miss You.

I Thank You.

Till next time, Grandma.


P.S. Give our little guy a squeeze, would you?

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