Her place in my heart has always been tightly bound. She was a soft place to land; a listening ear when I felt I had no one else who would hear me. Her heart heard mine and understood.
She was the scent of Chantilly Lace, the essence of a rose. She felt free to be herself no matter what others thought.
I loved her. I love her still. To try and put who she was on paper is stretching me to the limit. I feel that nothing I can say will express who this woman was to me… my Grandma… she who taught me so much about life, often without saying a word.
Prayer was as important to her as breathing. I know because I saw her and grandpa pray faithfully for their family and for missionaries every time we had the privilege of eating breakfast with them. It didn’t matter who joined them at the table. After the food was eaten, spiritual nourishment would be taken by reading Our Daily Bread and praying.
One that stands out so clearly is the Christmas we grand children gathered around her on the floor as she sat in a chair and told us the story of salvation with a picture book. The book was a story of a mother hen that protected her chicks under the shelter of her wings when a fire surrounded them. The hen died, the chicks did not. The illustration was to show how cherished we are under the sanctuary of God’s wings. I told my grandma years later how that story stayed with me and she sent me the book with a lovely letter inside the front cover.
When Grandma baked zwieback she didn’t use a recipe, she just threw a handful of this and a handful of that into a bowl and mixed it all together. Sure, it was always the same ingredients but she never knew how much she was actually using and the results were different from one time to the next… usually perfect zwieback would be made, but other times… oy! Salty!
I see a straw hat atop her head to protect her smooth, freckled face from the sun as she worked in her garden, tending her roses. What gorgeous roses she grew. Prize winning… not that she ever entered any in a contest that I know of, but in my book she deserved a blue ribbon.
One Spring day when I was about eleven, and we were visiting during Spring break she took me shopping for an Easter outfit. I still remember the pretty pink dress we bought, along with a strand of pink beads. There was probably a hat, shoes and tights to match. I don’t remember for sure, but I do remember that dress became one of my favorites.
Grandma… the tears come to my eyes and threaten to spill down my cheeks as I think of her and how much I miss her. It’s been seven years since I’ve seen her, three since she’s been at home with Jesus. Her smile and her giving heart linger in my mind. She gave more than just material things, she gave from her heart, her years of experience and wisdom, imparting a legacy of hope into my soul.
Her letters (oh how I wish I had them all) and journal that I typed up from her and grandpa’s trip to Africa as missionaries one year are all I have left of her… but no, I have more than that. I have the memories that hold her close to my heart and the heritage of Christian roots running deep. Her prayers are very likely a very large reason I am where I am today… she went before the throne of grace on my behalf more times than I am even aware.
Grandma… one day, sooner than I realize, I will see you again in heaven and when I do, I will give you the biggest hug… I miss you. I love you. While I wait to be with you, but more than that, to see Jesus face-to-face, I know you, along with everyone else who has gone before are standing before the throne singing your praises to the One who made you so special and allowed me to have a place in my heart just for you, that will always be secure.
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