It’s been almost eleven years since we said goodbye to you. I wish I could talk to you now. There is so much you taught me when I was child. Now I’m all grown up and I’m scared. I wonder what you would tell me if you were here.
Would you pat my hand with your pin-pricked fingers that crafted so many beautiful quilts and tell me that everything will be okay? I remember your hands and the way they always made things better. Would you knead bread dough and bake it for me – letting me cover it in your homemade strawberry preserves? I remember how you baked that delicious bread every day and as I child I never imagined that there would come a day when I wouldn’t smell it baking. Would you be proud of me? I’ve messed up a lot and it seems like my life has been one bad decision after the other. Sometimes I wonder if you’re in heaven crying with me. Sometimes I worry that you’ve watched me fail in so many ways and that I’ve disappointed you.
When I am sad or when I’m struggling with life, I yearn for my carefree childhood days at your farm. I remember playing with my Barbies under the big oak tree in your front yard. I still have the Barbie clothes that you made for my dolls – tiny little pieces hand-stitched with love in every detail. My new home has a built-in china cabinet and your china is going to look beautiful in it. When I packed and left my home last month I was able to bring your quilts with me. My daughter loves the pink flower garden quilt and someday I look forward to giving it to her on her wedding day. A couple of months ago, Mom and I cooked your chocolate sheath cake that was in your handwritten cookbook. It was delicious. Once I’m in my new home and I’m able to unpack my belongings, I plan to read through all of your letters again. Each one is filled with so much love and unconditional acceptance. Your love was always so beautiful…so constant…so safe.
As a child, I never remember you being sad or worrying. As an adult, I marvel at your strength. I’m humbled by realizing now how remarkable you were in being so full of life even after you survived the death of your husband in your arms and the sudden tragic death of your son at a young age. As we skipped down the country roads near your home and looked for frogs in the water spouts, walked in the woods and learned the names of all of the wildflowers and read through our Sunday School lessons each Saturday night, your faith and your love were constant. You were never worried or scared. I hope someday I can be as strong as you. Remember when the tornado tore up your house and destroyed your young garden and crops? I was terribly upset and scared to see your beautiful home, my safe haven, so bruised and broken. You weren’t shaken or upset – instead you were grateful to have survived in the dirt cellar under your home and confident that everything would be okay. And it was. I hope someday I’ll be able to face all that life hands to me with a grace and dignity that honors your memory.
My children are growing up into such extraordinary people. I wish they had a chance to know you and feel the warmth of your love. My daughter is getting ready to graduate from college and she’s beautiful in so many ways. She has the kindest heart of anyone I know and she’s fiery in her compassion for others. Last year she fell in love with a wonderful man who loves her very well in return. He is everything I ever hoped for in a man for my daughter and they are beautiful together. My son was only a baby the last time you saw him. Today he is an incredibly strong and confident young man who has battled through so much in his young life. His smile will brighten up the room and he is remarkable in so many ways. Thank you for your beautiful example of how to raise children. It is the model upon which I have raised these two beautiful people.
I miss you Grandmother and I still think about you every day. As I work through life’s heartache and my difficult times, I close my eyes and pretend I’m back under that big oak tree…and I remember everything will be okay.