On Monday, we said goodbye to my Grandma. During the funeral service on Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to share some thoughts about her. Here they are:
As grandchildren, I’m sure we all have known the special touch of our grandparents. Each one of us (seven in all) was always made to feel special whenever we were around. (I was special, because I was born on Grandpa’s birthday.) What a blessing!
I’m fairly certain we all have very special memories of Grandma. She was certainly an amazing lady, and I’ll remember many things about her, but one thing stands out the most when I think about her special qualities.
Grandma was a woman of prayer.
When I was a young kid, I remember special times of prayer at the meal table. Grandpa might read from a devotional. We would look at a missionary card to learn more about a missionary or an unreached people group. And then, Grandma would pray. Her prayers were always soft-spoken. It was obvious to me that Grandma knew God, and she was simply having a conversation with Him.
When I was in college, Grandma and Grandpa were visiting our home in New Jersey. I was out late with friends while they were there one night. When I pulled in the driveway, the house was dark. My bedroom was in the basement of my parent’s split-level house, and Grandma and Grandpa slept in the basement family room during their visits. I unlocked the door and quietly walked down the steps. As I approached the bottom step, I heard voices. At first, I thought Grandma and Grandpa were talking to each other. Then I realized they were talking to God. I sat down on the bottom step and listened as they continued the conversation. Together they prayed for Norm and Candy (my parents), Max and Elaine (my aunt and uncle), Lauren (my cousin), Jon, Jane (my cousin), David (my brother), Tom (my cousin), Helen (my cousin), and Erik (my brother). They prayed specifically for each of us mentioning specific concerns and even praying for our future spouses. They especially prayed that we would have a relationship with Jesus. This wasn’t an unusual occurrence. It was clear to me they prayed for us every night.
After Grandpa passed away seven and a half years ago, I had a few opportunities to visit with Grandma. These were always such special visits. After talking together for a while about my family, the Cubs, the Bears, our extended family, and about other details, we would always pray together before we said goodbye.
Last summer during my last two visits with Grandma, It was clear that her memory was starting to fail her. During my first visit in June, we talked for ten to fifteen minutes before she asked “What was your name again?” In July, she knew my name, but she couldn’t remember Leanne’s name. You could tell this was frustrating to Grandma who was always the smartest in the family. After spending a couple of hours together, we gathered in Grandma’s room to pray and say goodbye. I prayed, and as I said Amen, Grandma picked up the conversation with God.
In her final year, I understand it became more challenging for her to hold her thoughts together as she prayed. I’m sure this was a sign she was ready to go home to heaven soon. Nonetheless, Grandma would look up at the cork board hanging above her bed. It was here she displayed her family tree which included her two children and their spouses, her seven grandchildren, and her fifteen great-grandchildren. Even when she couldn’t hold her head up, she would pray for us as she looked up at her pictures.
Grandma will be missed by all of us. We will miss the conversations, the Swedish pancakes, and the Swedish meatballs. And I will miss hearing Grandma talking with her friend, Jesus. I’m so thankful for the faith legacy left by Grandma.
It was sad to say goodbye to Grandma this week, but it was great to be with family. And it was a privilege to celebrate the life of a saint – my Grandma.
How do you (or how will you) remember your grandparents?