Missing my Grandma

June 2, 2009

One year ago today my Grandma passed away. I cannot even begin to believe that it has been a year without her. I still feel her presence every day. I miss her more than I could ever begin to articulate, if I let myself I could easily cry all day when I think about how much I miss her. But honestly the pain is getting a little better. And I know that day by day my sadness will be replaced by all of my happy memories of her. There is a quote by Rita Mae Brown that I often turn to when I feel down: "I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss." That is what sometimes gets me through the day, knowing that in time my loss will be conquered.

Today was really hard. My Mom, Ryan and I went up to the cemetery to put some flowers with my Grandma. We got roses and lilacs. I know that the deer will eat the roses tonight, but we didn't care. They were my Grandma's favorite. I hope that when she watches over me that I am making her proud of the person I am. There is so much that I am accomplishing that I wish she was here to see. But I hope that she knows that she helped form me into the person I am today. Also every day I strive to be like her... to have such a huge heart, to love unconditionally, to always be able to forgive, to always be there for family and friends. But most importantly I hope to leave behind the type of legacy that she did. That people can talk and smile and laugh when they think of me.

About a month after my Grandma's funeral we had a celebration of life. It was a time for all of her family and friends to get together and celebrate my Grandma's life. To put aside our sadness and remember what an amazing life she had. My parents and I made a slide show of her life and played that for everyone. We also had a time where people could say something about my Grandma. This is what I had to say:

Back in January I sat down and wrote a speech to read today for my Grandma. I decided to write it then because I was worried that come now, I wouldn’t be able to find the words I wanted to say. It seemed like such a great idea, until I sat down to re-read it the other day. For some reason it just wasn’t right. I don’t need to stand up here and tell you all how amazing my grandma was. I think that you all already know this, other wise you wouldn’t be here sharing this special day with me. So I’m going to throw my 2 terms of speech writing out the window, and try to tell you a few stories about my grandma that were important to me. They aren’t quite as eloquent as the speech that I had first written, but they are from my heart and they make me smile. So that is what I think is important to share today.

Some of my favorite memories with my grandma are when she took my hand in hers and we took off on a journey together. My grandma held my hand a lot. I remember in cars she would always take her hand and slip it back through the space between the car seat and door. I would be sitting behind her, this way we could hold hands. Looking back now, I can’t imagine that it was comfortable for her to sit like this, but she always did.

I used to stay over at my grandparent’s house a lot when I was young. This is where I spent a good majority of my vacations from school. When I was real young and my grandpa was still driving his “womp womp” trucks. For those of you who don’t speak “Melissa” the “womp womp” trucks are what I called my grandpa’s semi trucks that he used to drive. Anyways he would leave early in the mornings for work. After he would leave, I would go into my grandparent’s room and crawl into bed with my grandma. She would take my hand and we would both fall back to sleep.

Now this memory in particular is so special to me. On the Tuesday and Wednesday before my grandma passed away, she was still sleeping in her and my grandpa’s bed. On those days, when I got the chance I would crawl into the bed with her and take her hand and lay there with her. Just like she took my hand when I was young. I tried to hold her hand as much as I could during her final days. It was a way that my grandma always showed me was there for me and loved me. I wanted to make sure that I could do the same for her.

My grandma showed me how a person should really live their life and what was truly important. I learned from her what I want to be as a person. I could say that I have some big shoes to fill to be just like my grandma, but I won’t for two reasons. The 1st is that her feet were bigger than mine. 2nd my grandma wouldn’t want me to be just like her. She would want me to take my own journey in life…to be a pioneer, a trailblazer. So now at age 25 I will take some of the most important lessons I have learned from my grandma and try to apply them in my own journey through life.

My grandma was never a rich with money. But she was rich with love, love from family and friends. My grandma showed me that these riches were more important than anything money could ever buy. Family was so important to my grandma. She told me stories, stories about my roots. My grandma believed that in order to know where you are going you have to know where you came from. She would tell me stories about growing up in Nebraska and moving out to Oregon. Things that shaped her life and made her who she was. These are stories that I hope to one day tell my children about their great-grandma Beverlee. The legacy that my grandma created will be a compass that will guide me though out my life.

My grandma showed me how to believe in yourself and how find strength and light in dark places. I saw this best when watching my grandma battle her cancer. She took every chemo treatment with such amazing integrity. Never showing that she was scared, never complaing about being stuck once again by another needle, and never giving up. I remember sitting with my grandma in the chemo lounge while she was having her therapy and listening to the other patients. So many of them were all complaining, moaning and groaning about having to have another treatment. I sat there so proud of my grandma, because she was sitting in her chair smiling. I asked her why she didn’t complain and she told me that it was because she got to spend one more day with her family and that made it all worth it.
So this leads me back once again to family. All of you here today, my grandma’s family and friends enriched her life in so many ways. I think that all of us are the reason she was able to fight the cancer for so long. I really think that basketball Coach, Jimmy V, can sum up my Grandma’s attitude best by saying: “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

Grandma, I love you so much and miss you.

bad blogger

So once again I have failed at updating my blog. It has been over a month and there has been so much going on. Nothing super eventful, but enough to keep me very busy. I guess that I will just try to post some blogs about what has been going on and such and maybe try to back date them or something. I will try my best!