My Grandmother went to meet Jesus today. I’m happy for her. I’m sad for me. My heart hurts, but it is well with my soul. She and I were kindred spirits. As I’ve gotten older, I see traits and interests in myself that I saw in her when I was growing up. She used to love to look through cook books and she was a fantastic cook. Now, I browse Pinterest daily looking for delicious recipes, and I too, love to cook. She loved to garden, as do I. She was strong because she had to be. She lived simply and loved big. She loved to laugh, but was tough when she had to be. She made the most of what she had. She loved her family and was the glue that held everyone together. Today, I’m seeing more and more of her coming out in me.
I have to share a few stories about this incredible woman.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually remember this first story happening, but she took great delight in reminding me regularly, while laughing hysterically until she was crying. LOL!
When I was a little girl, about 3 years old, I went home from church with them regularly. We would usually go to a local hamburger place called Dairy King and eat these massive hamburgers. Anyway, one particular Sunday, we also stopped by the grocery store and I talked them into getting a bag of balloons. Granddaddy was going to blow them up for me, but he fell asleep on the couch. LOL! So, Grandmother was going to give it her best shot! She put it to her mouth and blew and her dentures fell out on the table! She said the look on my face would forever be etched in her mind. Every time she retold that story, she would laugh until tears rolled down her face. Ha! I’m sure to a 3-year-old, that would have been pretty shocking!
Another funny story… I think I was in about 6th grade and my parents went on vacation and left us kids with Grandmother and Granddaddy. They took us out to “the garden” to help pick okra, green beans, etc. I wasn’t thrilled about that, but I will never forget Grandmother laughing hysterically when I asked her where the nearest restroom was. She said, “Honey, you see Granddaddy’s truck over there? Go around the back, open the door, and sit on that rail to do your business.” I was mortified! If I had only known then the life I would be living now and how many times that little “trick” would come in handy! LOL!
The last few years have been rough. Grandmother had dementia and had a hard time remembering things. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know my name the past several times I’ve visited her, but she knew I was hers. One day last fall, she and I were talking, and we were eye to eye. She looked at me and said, “I think we resemble each other.” It made me smile, wondering if in the back of her mind, she was remembering herself at my age. I told her, “Yep! We’re both cute as can be!” She laughed and laughed and laughed. 🙂
Loss is always hard. Grief is never easy, but my Grandmother knew and loved the Lord, and I know there was the sweetest family reunion on the streets of gold today. Because of that, I have peace. I know she is well, she is whole, and she is reunited with my Granddaddy and many other loved ones who went before her.
I’ve shared in my last couple of blogs that we have spent a lot of time in Texas this year. God seems to have us in a holding pattern for now. My Grandpa (my mom’s dad) passed away just before Christmas. We were home for that. I was able to give him a haircut, clip his nails, and love on him before he went to meet Jesus.
At the beginning of each new year, I always pray for God to give me a word or a verse to guide me for that year. The first of this year, God gave me words from Psalm 46:10. “Be Still..” That’s a really difficult thing for me to do and I’d be lying if I didn’t ask Him, “Are you sure you gave me the right words?” But, I felt very strongly that we weren’t supposed to go back on the road for a while. I didn’t know why, but I knew we were supposed to stay put for a while. Now, it is all becoming evident.
I can’t even tell you what a blessing it has been to do just that. We spent several months camping on family land that used to belong to my Grandmother. Her family has owned it for generations. I cleaned out the old Airstream my grandparents used to camp in out there. We have gotten to know family members on a much deeper level than ever before. I planted a flower garden around my Grandmother’s favorite tree. We’ve had more fish fries and family get-togethers than ever before. I’ve been around to visit my grandmother numerous times and even took her a fried pie. I might have shed a tear or two when after eating every bite of it, she said, “Now THAT was a good fried pie!” That was a huge compliment coming from the Queen of Fried Pies!
There are plenty of other reasons God has us sticking out these crazy hot summer days in Texas, and we do still look forward to getting back on the road, but I wouldn’t trade my time here, the memories, and the relationships developed for anything in the world.
I will miss you, Grandmother! Until we meet again…
Vivian Keel (April 13, 1926 – June 4, 2018)
Psalm 34:17-19 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”