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.