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Grandma has been gone for many years, but a few days ago, I saw her. A few days ago, I glimpsed her perfection, her compassion, her faithfulness, her generosity, her humility and her determination. A few days ago, I felt her touch in a hug, as I was greeted by Grandma’s Kids in a North Carolina beachfront condo; someplace Grandma would never be. On this trip, as the waves crashed in the background, I was taken back to Zion, Illinois…to a big brown duplex on Elizabeth Avenue. 2610. On this wedding weekend in June, as I entered the beachfront condo, I felt the metal of an Elizabeth Avenue doorknob in my palm as I heard voices similar to my loved Grandma on the other side of the closed door. Memories flooded my mind of her glasses pressing against my temple and the feel of her polyester clothing against my cheek as she gave me a hug…the familiar musty scent that welcomed me in…I remembered the talks we had, the games we played…button, button, who’s got the button?…the walks we took and the way her hand felt in mine as we waited for the walk signal at Sheridan Road…her blue umbrella that she carried on rainy days and her rain speckled glasses as she held most of the umbrella over me so my “banana” curls wouldn’t get wet…the sound of the weight jiggling on the pressure cooker that she used to cook most every meal…all of these memories came rushing in like the waves on the Atlantic coast.
Because my memories are clouded by childhood innocence and blurred by words and actions of family, to hide and protect, they can only give a glimpse of the woman she was. My memories don’t include her trauma of witnessing the death of her mother and baby sister in a car accident when she was just a child or the reality of the years of heartache she endured because of the choices of an unfaithful husband. They won’t tell you of the sacrifices made to raise six children as a single mother, and the secrets she kept to protect her growing family. My memories won’t speak of the hours she spent praying…or the lonely days spent wondering why her husband didn’t come home.
Though all of these memories and experiences mean nothing to one that never knew her, they can tell of her character…Her Godliness…Her wisdom…Her faithfulness. These memories and life experiences can hint of the caliber of woman that she was, a woman shaped by her total dependence on the love of a Savior, that promised to never leave.
Even more important then the memories I have from my time with Grandma, is the legacy that she left behind. Six children, four daughters, two sons…25 grandchildren…great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, too many to count. This is what life is all about…The lives that follow…Lives Invested For Eternity. This is what Grandma gave me that is most important.
So as I was greeted that June day by Grandma’s Kids, I realized that I stood in her presence. The children that she raised worked busily around me getting ready for a beachfront wedding. Each daughter and son was trained by her. Each one contributed differently but worked together so much like their mother. In those few short days preparing for and witnessing beachfront promises, Grandma surrounded me. Maybe not in physical form but in word and deed of her children. Each adult child spoke volumes of the sacrifices made for ones eternal security. Betty, Barb, Sue, Gene, Terry and Peggy; each one a testimony to faithful guidance and God’s protection, grace and mercy.
I’m sorry if you never knew my Grandma, but if you would like to see first hand some of her qualities; perfection, compassion, faithfulness, generosity, humility and determination, get to know her kids. I’m so glad I have!