Friday, March 30, 2012

Grandma Goes Home

Some of you may remember this post written a couple of years ago about my grandmother. As we laid my grandmother to rest this week, I have more to say about this beloved and nurturing woman.

In November, my baby and I arrived for 2 weeks and ended up stayed for five months. I saw my grandmother more in the past 5 months than I had in the past 5 years, and I wouldn't have traded this special time for anything. God's timing was perfect, as always. Although it was hard to see her earthly body failing, her spirit was very much alive in her final days, dispensing advice, voicing opinions, and issuing decisive instructions.

We hired a young woman named Cara to help care for her in the mornings. "How do you like Cara?" I asked. Grandma liked her very much, and added an endorsement that made me smile, "She's not annoying at all."

The day arrived when she no longer felt like leaving her bed.

Was this the same lady who spent last summer planting flowers in containers around her garden? The same lady whose eyes still held a spark at my baby shower last September?

Oh, how she loved the Duckling, her first, her only great grandchild. "Where's the baby?" she would ask as soon as I walked in the door. "How is he doing?" She was always telling him she loved him. We all said "I love you" often these past few months.

My grandmother's yard held the most fragrant violets I had ever smelled. My grandfather had troweled them up from the dirt at a place he worked back in the 1960's and replanted them in the fertile former-farmland soil of their home, where the violets multiplied. I looked forward to them every year, violets being my favorite flower. This year I felt like there was a clock ticking. I wanted those violets to bloom so badly so I could dig some up and replant them at our own home, well aware that next year at this time the property might be home to a new family, perhaps strangers. As those delightful purple buds began to bloom, Grandma grew weaker. She grew more tired. Some days she didn't seem like herself. It was hard to see her beautiful garden come to life and she no longer be interested. One recent day, as the violets were in the full bloom, the daffodils past their prime, and the magnolia tree shed its blush colored petals on the ground, she peacefully left this world.

Last year during my awful pregnancy, my sense of smell made life unbearable some days. The only redeeming quality of hyper-olfactory was that I could smell the spring flowers in a new way that I had never smelled before. A lilac bush five hundred feet away smelled like a bouquet under my nose. Flowers that had never had much of a scent before suddenly emanated a deep fragrance and I would often say, this must be what flowers in heaven smell like. Everything smelled heavenly.

I admit that I can't help but wonder what beautiful flowers she might be enjoying now. Ones that make those lovely violets seem inconsequential, and yet they still matter. Because the last five months has served as a reminder of what I always knew. What we do here matters, and our time spent here on earth is only about a few things. It's about a few simple truths that a even a child can grasp. Our mission here is to love and care for one another and glorify God. It's about preparing to meet the Lord and live in his kingdom forever.


  1. Monica and family,

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss; although you have wrote one of the most beautiful blogs of your Grandmother and life in itself. Yes, God does time everything within his accord!

    Debbie S.

  2. What sweet memories of your grandmother you have. Huggles.

  3. Dear Monica,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. How wonderful you were able to spend these last months caring for her.....they are memories that I know you will cherish. Isn't it wonderful that we, as believers in the Lord Jesus, have the blessed hope of seeing our loved ones again in heaven?!! And just think.....she will be celebrating Resurrection Day personally with our Risen Savior!!!

  4. What a sweet memorial to an obviously well-loved lady. So glad that you have those precious memories. :)

  5. I'm sure she's finally catching up on her Reader's Digest collection. :) This was just so well written and brought back so many memories of my own grandma - her flowers being African violets inside and iris's (sp?) outside. I hope you got her recipes and are able to translate them. I have to say my favorite part of this is grandma saying that her caregiver was, "..not annoying at all." I love her and I didn't even know her! ♥

  6. So sorry for your loss.

    Loved the post, she sounds like a very special lady!

  7. Monica, I have read your blog for quite a while, but have never commented. Today, your post about your grandma touched my heart, and I wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss.

    Violets are my favorite flower, too. I have them under a big, old pine tree in my garden. Beautiful, spring violets.
    Yours, Rosemary

  8. Oh Monica, my heart goes out to you. I know you loved your grandmother so much.

  9. Monica, my heart grieves and rejoices for you. It is clear you love your grandmother so much and you were already grieving before she left this world. However, it is also clear you honored and treasured her and did nothing to impede her passing. You seem wise beyond your years. This is a beautiful memorial for a well loved lady. Hugs as you move forward in your life. Nan

    1. Thank you everyone, for your heartfelt words of sympathy and support. I'm so blessed to have such caring readers!

  10. I like the part about smelling the flowers, Monica. A taste of Heaven, for sure.

    Maybe, right about now, she's meeting my grandmother who loved to grow roses. She also loved kitties and doing puzzles. :)

    Blessings to you, The Mister, and The Duckling.

  11. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady.


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