I just received a phone call from my father telling me tht my grandma died. She had a stroke several years ago which robbed her of a lot of living, so it didn't necessarily come as a surprise. There have been many times when my father has called and I was fearful it was going to be "that" call. As soon as I answered the phone tonight I knew. I could hear it in his voice. I'm thankful she's whole again. I'm glad she's in God's presence with Grandpa there, too.
But loss is never easy. I feel alone in it right now. I feel like there's been too much crying of late.
I'm grateful for all the good memories, though. When I was little, my grandparents watched me on their farm during the times my mom was teaching. I spent a lot of formative years with my grandma. Her kitchen is at the front of my memory. The smell of Swedish rye bread and molasses. The cookie jar which was always kept filled, and which I learned to open steathily to sneak out an extra treat. Sitting around the table and learning to pray "Come, Lord Jesus." Her bringing "lunch" (the mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon snack) out to the men as they worked in the field: it was often cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, or cookies along with a thermos of coffee. Those were the only times I drank coffee (with plenty of milk, of course). Her garden--especially tomatoes in the summer. For some reason, tomatoes were sometimes sprinkled with sugar instead of salt.
She was a quilter. For my high school graduation she quilted together scraps from my grandfather's jeans and coveralls. I still have it. She loved her family. We spent many holidays and family birthdays together. Often it was a picnic with fishing involved. She was a hard worker. She was a woman of faith. Even though she couldn't carry a tune, she still sang the hymns.
I wish she had been well to play with my sons. She had a stroke before they were born. Still, when they would visit her, she would often smile. When my oldest was younger, he would occasionally sing her a song like "Jesus Loves Me" or "Away in a Manger" and she would sometimes sing along--she seldom spoke otherwise.
I wish my memories were clearer. I had so many good times with her. She will be missed; she loved greatly and was loved much in return. Esther Wilhelmina Christoffers Wenell, you were a great woman. I was lucky to call you "Grandma."