and I'm at a loss for words...At least in person.
That's a song I vividly remember my Grandma singing to me again and again.
Last night my Aunt Cathy suggested to my dad that I call my grandma and say goodbye to her. She's been on a slippery up and down slope for several weeks, but it looks like there will be no rebound on this latest slope. I talked to Stephen for a while before I called...he wanted me to write down what I wanted to say: A favorite memory, what she means to me, how Jesus loves her. I didn't want to write it down because I didn't want to think about it. I wanted it over with.
You can read into that BIG FAT WEENIE.
Truth is, I've been gone so long, I have a hard time picturing my always active, always smiling, always up doing something for others grandma in a hospital bed in her room, not getting up, not opening her eyes, not speaking, not eating. So saying goodbye over a telephone just doesn't feel right to begin with.
Having my aunt tell me she is hearing me because her breathing pattern changed...doesn't feel right either.
My grandma was one of the most servant-hearted people I have ever met. Perhaps the most. I think I may have told her some gist of that, but the truth is I can't remember because it felt like I was vomiting at the mouth...wanting to say something comforting and wanting it to be over with at the same time.
I have a picture of us when she drove up to my junior recital in Hickory that is always how I'll remember her. Bright shining eyes with a huge smile and a look like she couldn't love or be more prouder of me. The next year she actually catered my senior recital because the woman could cook and bake things better than anyone. The first sign she was getting older was my aunts committing to help her because they thought it might be a bit much for her. I have the best family in the world. I've been looking all over for that picture. It had been on my refrigerator for years, but we recently got a new refrigerator and those pictures were put somewhere "safe".
The older I get, the more I realize how I am my grandma both in genetics and personality. I'll never be close to as self-less as she was, but we are the same height, she sewed the most amazing things, loved crafts and loved for them to be organized complete with labels. Because of our height, she used to give the best hugs. I loved getting to give and receive hugs from her because she and I could wrap our arms completely around each other with no reaching or stretching. Pure joy and comfort.
When family came into town for Sarah's baptism and I had a full house of giggling family, loud and boisterous and spread all over the place - I cooked a fair amount of food and basked in the absolute joy of having a full house of family. I suddenly realized why the feasts grandma put together were always viewed by her as nothing much. It made me happy to listen to everyone having a good time and making sure they were well fed. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
And Sarah...as much as I wished Sarah could have met her great-Papa, I wish she could meet her great-Grandma. But not the Grandma the Grandma of today...no I don't even want to remember the Grandma of today. The Grandma that would spend hours upon hours playing skip-bo with me. Teaching me to knit which I was SO horrible at. The grandma that let me play with her stamps and make a complete mess out of all her stuff just because she enjoyed teaching me. Unfortunately I got into sewing too late to learn much from her. I kick myself all the time because turns out I'm a really bad knitter, an ok crocheter,lack the patience for a good scrap booker and stamping...well like most things Grandma taught me I did it for a little while. But once I found sewing...everything else fell away.
Down in her basement is a mecca of fabric in Rubbermaid containers with labels by color and holiday season. I took some buttons from her a while ago and sewed them onto Sarah's 4th of July dress - but my three Dukes mayonnaise jars of buttons can't hold a candle to the pickle jars still sitting down there. Every button seems to have character and I want to ask her where they came from...but there are so many of them - I doubt she could tell me anyway!
The first time I'd ever heard of a mission trip was when Grandma and Papa went to St. Lucia. The pictures from their trip are a far cry from the luxury resort I enjoyed in St. Lucia on my honeymoon. Both she and Papa had servants hearts. Papa could fix anything and do it right - the first time. Grandma could love anyone she met as her own.
The first time I'd ever spent anytime around people with mental and physical handicaps was going up for worship at the Church of the Exceptional. It's a church founded to cater to the specific needs of children and families with mental and physical handicaps so that they could worship without holding anything back. I remember grandma prepping me for it telling me that I might hear people shouting out things when they shouldn't be, and that some of them would be in wheelchairs, some of them wouldn't have control of their bodily functions but that's ok because that's just who they are. She served as their treasurer until she was unable to keep up with it.
She also taught Sunday school regularly. Anytime we were there for a Sunday (which wasn't often because mom always played at St. Timothy's service on Sunday) she took us and dropped us off to go have Sunday school while she went up and taught her class. One summer when mom dropped me off before she went to Lutheridge, I went to VBS at Adaville Baptist Church. It was there that I got to go play put-put golf and informed everyone that "there was this puddle, and it had water in it". I still haven't lived that down...
And for a break in the seriousness...here's one thing my Grandma taught me that I remember everyday. How to put my underwear on in the correct direction. Apparently I put it on backwards one day while she was keeping me. I remember her holding my underwear in front of me and telling me if I could see fabric behind the leg holes, I was putting them on correctly. Yes, I think if my Grandma every day when I put on my underwear. Somehow, I felt silly telling her that last night.
I felt silly telling her any of this. Do I acknowledge to her that I'm saying goodbye for the last time. Would that make her feel sad or would that make her feel at peace and ready to go? All I know is I want her not to suffer. I want her to go home and be with her Father in heaven and be at peace. If anyone has a special place carved just for them - it would be her.
What this good Lutheran wanted to say to that most devoted Southern Baptist was that there is a place for her. The she has been claimed by God and loved forever. That Dorothy, Child of God has fought the good fight, lived the good life and can rest in the hope of the Resurrection. Well done good and faithful servant. Go in peace.