Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Beautiful Gram

Yesterday, March 26,2010 my family lost one of the most amazing people I have ever know, my grandmother, who I called Gram, my kids called her Meme (m-eh may) I wanted to take the time this morning to reflect on her life and the impact she has on my life.

My Gram is my mom's mother. And as close as I am with my mom, they were even closer. I loved watching their relationship because they loved to just spend time together. They would enjoy a cup of coffee together, laugh over stories of kids and grand kids, plan family events, run errands, share meals, and they were always there for one another. It was the kind of relationship people envy, the kind of bond that goes beyond mother and daughter. It was a relationship of heart and soul. My heart is breaking for my mom because she lost her mom.

Family was so important to my Gram, and there is a lot of family. There is so many that I am convinced Gram was the only one who knew who everyone was. At family gatherings I often looked around thinking "ok now who is that again?" But Gram knew everyone, every grandchild, every cousin's wife or husband, and so on and so on. She loved having big family gatherings or just having one person over for a bowl of homemade corn chowder. Gram never missed a birthday. My whole life I have always gotten a card from her, and then when I had my own children she always sent them a card with her signature 2 one dollar bills inside. My boys really loved getting her cards. And not just on birthdays, but Easter, Valentine's day and even Halloween. I don't know how she always remembered but she always did. We were important to her.

Did you know my middle name is Trudy? I got it from my Gram's name, Gertrude but everyone who didn't call her "Ma", "Gram" or "Meme" called her Trudy. I remember not liking it growing up. But as I got older I really liked being named after her. And now I treasure it. It is such an honor to have her as part of me in that way.

One of my favorite memories of my Gram is the summer I got to spend with her and Pa many many years ago. I was around 9 or 10. We lived in Massachusetts and I got to come to Maine, just me, and stay with them. I had such an amazing time. Gram treated me like a princess. She made me special meals, combed my hair, and planned special things for us to do. I remember her making my bed in Uncle Winnie's room and putting the pillows just so. The sheets were always so fresh and soft. I felt so loved and that's just the way she wanted it.

Gram was such a strong women. She had strong convictions and wasn't afraid to to stand her ground. But she was always so gentle with her words. She loved to keep busy. She was amazing in the kitchen. She could cook and her food was good. She made everything. Some of my favorites were her chocolate chip cookies, rondulettes, "sticky"rice, her jam cake and her fudge. One day I asked her for the roundulette recipe which is basically a cookie with jam in the middle and then frosted. She said "well I don't have a recipe I just make them". So in order to get the recipe we had to make a batch together and as she added ingredients I wrote it down. "about this much milk" she said. My mom cooked just like her and in turn I cook like my mom and we always say "we learned from Gram". Gram also kept a very tidy clean house(something I unfortunately haven't inherited) Her home was always spotless. Her laundry was always done, the clothes were always iron and hung, her floors always mopped, bathrooms always clean. She always had a bowl of candy out on the coffee table. My boys would always ask "Can we have one?" and she would say "Yes, yes that is what they are there for" She was so funny, though I don't know if she always meant to be so funny. Her little comments, with her added French phrases always cracked me up. "Oh Gram" I would say "What?" she would say with a big smile.

My Gram's husband, I called him "Pa" was equally amazing and incredible. He passed away 22 years ago and I remember that day as though it was happening today. I remember thinking "how will we ever go on without Pa?" "How will ever be able to get together for family things without him?" It seemed almost pointless to try because he was just that important. But we did. We did because that's what Gram and Pa taught is important. Gram carried that on. And now I am asking myself that same question "how will we go on?" It's impossible for me to imagine Gram not being there, she has been the constant in our family.

I am having a very hard time being so far from family. 3000 miles just makes my heart ache. It was so hard this past week not knowing what was going to happen with Gram and wanting so badly to be there with everyone. I just wanted one more conversation, but that wouldn't have been enough. I just wanted one more hug, but that wouldn't have been enough. I just wanted more time with her, but there would never be enough time. I felt like a child yesterday just wanted my Grammie. I just wanted her. I wanted her to meet Hannah so bad. She didn't get a chance to since we moved out to Washington. I am so overwhelming sad about that.

I have a really bad fear of flying. So big that I started feeling physically sick thinking I would fly back. But I need to be with my family, so I am walking through my fear and I leave Sunday night. I know my Gram would be so proud of me for getting on that plane to be with everyone. I know that would have made her very happy.

She lived a very long and amazing life. She loved much and she was loved much. But that doesn't bring me comfort. I think somewhere I thought "she'll outlive us all" I know that my Gram believed that Jesus died on the cross for her. I know she had great faith. I have to hold on to that. I have to believe in the promises we are given, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. I know that she is with our Savior. I know she is enjoying all that He has prepared for her. I know that she is with all those who have gone before her. I know she has no more pain, no more tears. I am sad not for her but for me. A friend reminded me yesterday that God created us not for death but for life. Death is is result of living in a sinful world. But it wasn't part of us from beginning. We are not made to deal with death. I have a hope in something real. It is not a hope of wishful thinking it is hope in a promise from the Creator of the Universe. What a merciful and amazing God we have, that He would desire to spend all of eternity with us. I know there is a day that I will see my Gram again. I will not put on face and say I am not sad, and it doesn't hurt because it does. I have cried so many tears. But just when I think I can't bare another second of the pain I am flooded with a peace. A peace that comes from knowing she is safe in the presence of the Lord and there is a part of me that is rejoicing.
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my fathers house there are many houses. If it were not so I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and take you to myself that where I am there you may also be" John 14:1-3

The last time I talked to my Gram we talked for almost 2 hours. She loved hearing all the stories about the kids. She told me over and over again how happy she was that I have such a great family. She told me how proud she was that I was able to move all the way to Washington. We laughed over silly stories. We talked about Pa She listened to Hannah making her little noises. If I would have known that was the last time I would talk to her...I know she knew how much I loved her. I have no regrets about that. I just want to tell her again and again and again and again.

Here are a few pictures of my amazing Gram.

A tradition kept for all these years is laying a Christmas wreath where my grandfather is (and other family members) Gram always made it a priority. I think it was just her way of remembering them and having them still part of our lives.
I love his picture so much. The boys adored her. She always had little treats for them. This time she had given them each a little flashlight.

Gram loved babies. She really was overjoyed each time a new baby was welcomed in our family. She has so many great grandchildren. This is my Gram, my Mom and my sister Mary's baby Miguel.

Here is my aunt Prissy and my Gram.

Gram and my brother Michael.

This picture captures so much. I love how Gram's hand is on my Mom's face...beautiful.

Me and Gram.

My cousin Melissa and Gram

Isaiah and Meme. This picture just brings up so many emotions.


LittleBlessingsFarm said...

Oh sweetie I am so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your whole family.

jen said...

Bethany, this is really a beautiful and touching tribute to your Gram. What an amazing woman! I could not help but cry. You are so much like her. It really honors her that you continue to live your life with the faith that you have and that you love your family and friends the way that you do. You and your family will continue to be in my prayers.

It'sSteph said...

Thanks for sharing about your Gram's precious life. I smiled reading all your fond memories and got teary over your sadness. Glad you can make it home!