Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The World is a Sadder Place: Elna Lindburg Williams (1912-2008)

Last night I lost my grandma. When her cancer didn't respond to radiation earlier this summer, she decided that she was ready to go. She'd actually been ready to go ever since her sweet husband died 4 years before I was born. But she didn't sit around awaiting the day. She made her corner of the world an amazing place. When my mom was at work, she often babysat my brothers and me--taking us to the park, teaching us to play the piano, and playing card games. She worked at the temple faithfully and was a dear friend and companion to a blind sister in her ward. She made us rice krispie treats (shaped like wreaths or easter baskets for holidays), sent us birthday cards with money, and always inquired about our music lessons and asked us to play our latest tunes for her. She exercised faithfully--swimming each week at the rec center. She was delighted when she found out that 80+ year olds swam for free! She crocheted leperocy bandages, blankets, and hats for the Humanitarian programs of the church. She studied her scriptures and was very well read (although she hated Harry Potter).

Every Sunday during my youth we would go out to visit her and eat fruit, toast, and cheese for dinner. Without fail each week she would say, "Megan, will you cut the cheese for us?" We would all laugh but she never got the joke [infact it even took Aunt Marie a few years before she got why that was funny]. Grandma was never one to say much--my dad gets that from her. Once I called her to ask her about her life for a school assignment in college. She said "Well, haven't you read my life story [she'd typed it up for her 80th birthday]?" I said, "Yes, Grandma I've read it twice--I love it." She replied, "Oh good, it's all in there." And that was the end of the conversation.

Grandma never complained about anything. She was the most patient and sweet woman. Even in the last weeks of her life when her breathing was painful, her mouth covered with sores, and unable to swallow food or water she assured us, "I'm fine."

Last night when my mother called me to tell me that Grandma was gone, tears came to my eyes. I sobbed for a few minutes not knowing if I was happy or sad. Happy that she was finally reunited with Grandpa, the love of her life. Happy that she no longer suffered in a body that wasn't functioning. Happy that she had lived such a faithful and full life, inspiring her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to follow her righteous example. I guess the only thing I'm sad about is that she's not here to share Readers Digest jokes with. She's not here for those 20 second phone conversations when I have good news to share. She's not here for the card games and the jeopardy watching. She's not here to carry on in her quiet way so that I can watch her and try to pattern my life after her's. No, I'm not sad at all for Grandma--I'm only sad for me. But I'll carry on and do my best in my own quiet way, because that is what Grandma would do.

18 comments:

Denae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denae said...

Megs,
I lost my Grandma in April and its such a bittersweet moment. I am so greatfull that we have the knowledge to know your Grandma has been reunited with her love. And that she is free of the struggles of an aging body here on earth. Now she is able to continue with her sweet spirit on the other side.

Much love to you!

Holdinator said...

What a tribute.

Meridee said...

Oh Meggie that made me bawl. It was so beautifully written and so touching to read. Heaven just got back a really good one!

EmmaP said...

she sounds like an amazing woman - and holy cow - did she live a long life!!! I totally get what you mean...went to my grandma's funeral last year over President's Day weekend. She too had been ready to go back since grandpa died 10 years before. I think its cute to imagine him waiting for her on the other side...

Beth said...

I'm not even her real granddaughter and I keep crying about it. Because I felt her love for me even in the few times I saw her and it helped me remember how much grandma's love their grandchildren. I really think she loved me and it is so meaningful to me. Maybe we all have a hole in our hearts that only grandma's can fill. I'll miss her but couldn't be happier for her!

Rachel said...

She sounds like a wonderful person, grandma, friend, and hero. So glad you have such fond memories. What a beautiful gift and your tribute to your grandma is beautiful.

Ginna said...

well I'm crying too, and I don't think I ever actually got to meet her! If so it was a long time ago. I totally know the feeling though, not sad for her, but sad for you.
I really miss my grandma and grandpa (my dad's parents) it's just so hard to really understand they're gone and not around anymore.

Well, now you know there's another angel out there looking out for you. :)

Becca said...

Oh Megan, Grandma Williams was such a neat woman!! I loved reading your post. It's really hard to loose a grandparent, more so for us that are left behind. I want you to know that you guys are all in my prayers!! I'm grateful that we can all be together again!! Thank you for sharing this tribute to your Grandma with us!! I love you Megs!!

Kirsten said...

Megan-What a beautiful post...I felt like I got to know her through your eyes. It is hard for those of us left behind, but I can only picture her being reunited with her sweetheart and their happy reunion. You all our in our prayers. Here's a squeeze from us.

Mel and Byde said...

Megan, She sounds like she was a wonderful woman. What a wonderful tribute. You are alot like her:) and what a happy reunion. You're sadness will turn to sweet memories. May you find comfort. We love you!

Tiffany said...

Megan, your thoughts are so perfect. I lost my grandma a year ago August and I had a lot of the same feelings.

Cuddlydoll said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a sweet tribute to her.

Congratulations on your new milestone! Good luck with the babes-all of them!

Marielle

eRiCa said...

so sorry to hear about your grandma. She sounded like a wonderful person.

Amanda D said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Your post is wonderfully written, and she sounds like an amazing woman!

K said...

I only just found out about this today. I've been so drowning in my own genealogy pictures and crying over my own aging, vanishing family, I haven't been opening these windows into the worlds of the ones i love. I'm so sorry/glad about this. I wish my Mama could get the same release.

I didn't know her very well at all, but your grandma was always there, part of the heart of your family. You have been mightily blessed in family, Megs, as I have said so many times over the years. Bless your heart.

Aren't we grateful for the gospel, and the taken for granted conviction we have of the reality of our continuing life and love? Now she will be in a position to look after your welfare, as Brigham said, to be working for you on the other side of the veil, the side where you can actually see and understand.

I wish I could say more. But there it is.

Jennifer said...

I'm late posting to this, but that was an excellent description of and tribute to Grandma! You said it so well!! I appreciated your comment on my blog--let's definitely not be strangers, and let's keep close through blogs and e-mails 'til we organize some sort of family reunion! :)

the fellers said...

I am so sorry, this must be a hard time for you!

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