Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Grandma

Grandma Penny (My Maternal Grandmother) and Me

On Sunday afternoon, my grandmother passed away. She was 88 years old and had lived an incredibly full and blessed life. I try to find comfort in those facts and I know she's in a better place, but selfishly, I'm going to  miss her a great deal. Since words can't really begin to express the void I will have in my life because she is no longer here, I thought I'd share some words that I wrote almost a year ago inspired by Adriana Trigiani's DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDMOTHERS.

My grandma Penny is my mom's mother, and she's one of the most Christian women that I've ever met. She was the oldest of 12 children, and like my grandma Carol, she wasn't able to finish high school because her family needed her help. She married my grandfather who was a farmer and had 6 children over the next 23 years. Talk about a hard worker! She did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for eight people, but she didn't have the luxuries (like automatic washing machines, microwaves, and dishwashers) that we have today. In addition, she maintained a humongous garden, canned all of the fruits and vegetables, and made almost all of the clothes for the entire family -- the list could go on and on. As a child, I honestly don't remember her ever sitting down; and if she did, she was mending clothes. She has slowed down a bit in the past few years -- she lost her husband a few years ago and currently lives in a nursing home -- but she recently received a certification to be a peer counselor for other patients in the home. She is celebrating her 88th birthday tomorrow and she has 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Needless to say, her family is her life.

Things I Learned from Grandma Penny
-- A Strong Work Ethic
-- Patience
-- The Importance of Family
-- Nothing Should Go to Waste
-- How to be "Green" -- reusing baggies, saving containers, composting, etc.
-- My Love of Cookbooks and Crafts
-- The Value of Religion
-- There is Strength in Silence



I am going to miss my Grandma Penny so much. I was incredibly fortunate to have her in my life for 42 years; and I'm even luckier that she's shared so many important life lessons with me and my children. I will be forever grateful that I was able to spend time with her during her last few days, and I was amazed by how she continued to give so much to me -- even in her last few hours. My grandma taught me not only how to live with grace and dignity, but also how to die with grace and dignity. She was truly one incredible woman!

27 comments:

Kay said...

Julie, I'm so sorry about the passing of your Grandma Penny. I remember when you wrote about both your grandmothers. They sounded like wonderful women. I know you will miss her, but what a gift to have her in your life. Beautiful pictures. Hugs!

Serena said...

I am so sorry that she has passed and know that you will carry her with you always. I learned that first hand many years ago that they never really leave you. Their words and lessons are always there to guide you even if they are not physically. I'm sending you virtual **HUGS**, though I would gladly give you real hugs if we lived closer.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Grandmas are so special and is devasating to lose them. I will always grieve over the fact that my maternal grandmother never got to meet her great-grandchildren, but my paternal one did. We can make them live on forever by sharing stories about them with our kids. Sending a great big hug to you Julie.

Marg said...

Sorry for you loss. Your post is a lovely tribute to a woman who obviously made a huge impact on your life, which is a fantastic tribute to anyone.

bermudaonion said...

I had tears in my eyes as I read this. I'm sorry to hear of your loss and having been praying for comfort for you and your family.

Beth F said...

I'm crying with you. You were very blessed to have really gotten to know your grandmother and that your children got to know her too. You are in my thoughts this week.

Beth Hoffman said...

Oh Julie,

I'm so sorry that you lost your Grandma Penny. Thank you for sharing your memories and the photos with us. Your tribute to her is beautiful ... made me cry.

Sending love to you and your family.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I am sorry to hear that you have lost your grandmother. She sounds like she was a wonderful woman. She will always live on in your heart and memories. Your tribute of her is beautiful! I will be thinking of you and your family.

wordlily.com said...

Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing how special she was to you.

Linda Kish said...

I am sorry for your loss. Your wonderful memories will help you through. You had a lot of wonderful times together and that is so special.

lsl_scrapper said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing woman. I know she will be missed. HUGS

Anna said...

I'm so sorry. ((HUGS))

Jo-Jo said...

I'm so sorry about your Grandma Julie. You have been so fortunate to have such a wonderful woman in your life! Grandma's are sure special and I can tell you that I appreciate every day that I have with mine also. Even when you know the day grows closer that you have to say goodbye, it doesn't make it any easier. You will be in my prayers.

Darlene said...

Julie, I'm sorry for your loss. I lost both my grandmothers very early in my life and I've always missed them. Although it doesn't take away the pain of losing your Grandma you were blessed to be able to share so much with her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Hugs.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I remember this post and feel like we got to know her a little too! I'm so sorry for your loss!

DoxiMom said...

Sorry for your loss; how fortunate our generation can have the pleasure to have our nonnas love, wisdom, and experience. The memories will be your comfort.

Audra said...

I'm sorry for your loss! My grandmother passed away in May of this year and I still feel her absence.

Jenny Girl said...

Julie, my condolences on the recent passing of your Grandmom. You will always have a little piece of her in your heart and soul and the things that you do throughout your life. She taught so much!
I will keep you and your family in my thoughts {{hugs}}

carolsnotebook said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman. And your kids are lucky for having been able to know her.

holdenj said...

What beautiful sentiments. I am sorry for your loss.

Booksnyc said...

This post is a wonderful tribute to your grandmother - she sounds like a very special woman.

Laura Fabiani said...

I'm so so sorry for your loss. I still miss my grandmother that I lost almost twenty years ago.

Marion said...

What a lovely lady she was and how lucky you were to have her in your life. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Lisa Marz said...

Beautiful tribute to your grandmother. May her stories remain for many generations through your words.

Heather J. said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Julie. I still have one set of my grandparents (they are 93 and 87 now) and I try to value every day I have with them. I'm glad your children got to know Grandma Penny - I don't have any great memories of my own great-grandma, so I'm envious of those who do.

stacybuckeye said...

So sorry to read this. Our grandmothers sound eerily similar and mine just went into a rehab center so this post hits me hard.
Dying with grace is a gift and I'm so glad that it was one you were able to appreciate.

Rachel said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful woman and your post is a beautiful tribute to her.

Rachel (www.chaosisafriendofmine.com)