God worked really hard when he made my grandmother. He put extra love in her heart, warm arms to hug with, and strength that could endure the toughest hardships. I don’t have the right words to completely describe how wonderful my grandma was. She made a big impact, not only on my life, but on the lives of everyone she met. Even while she was sick in the nursing home, struggling, she touched the people around her. She had a glow about her. It shone from the inside out. The glow was God’s light. God placed it within her soul, and it shone so bright that it radiated in her smile, her warm eyes, and in the things she did.
My grandmother never had a lot of money, yet she would give her last pennies to help another in need. I remember holiday meals at my grandparents’ home where Grandma would invite a lonely elderly lady to join us. My dad told us stories where Grandma would give food to strangers when she barely had enough food to feed her eight children. She gave endless love and compassion when she had nothing else to give. While she was in the nursing home, my husband and I brought her cookies we made, and she offered them to some of the other residents. She lost her independence, her home, and almost everything, and yet she was still giving.
As a child, I always felt abundance of love from my grandmother. She didn’t spoil me with gifts, but with love. No matter how bad I felt after being bullied at school, I would always feel better after a hug from Grandma. Grandma was a good listener, and I could talk to her about anything. She always had comforting words to share, and she knew how to make me feel special and important. When I felt rejected at school, I felt accepted at my grandparents. She always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
Grandma could write the most beautiful letters that brought tears to my eyes, and she loved to write them. I believe it is from her I got my writing talent. She beamed with pride each time I read her a story I wrote. Each time I got published, she had to have a copy. She loved my writing, and I was more than excited to share with her my accomplishments. Even while she lay dying, I read her a chapter from my memoir, and in a very weak and low voice, she told me she liked it. Even while life was fading from her, she loved the words I read to her. I believe they gave her comfort.
I never left my grandma’s home without a hug. She hugged everyone, even strangers. Her arms were always warm and gentle. When I brought my friends to my grandma’s, they too had to have a hug, even though she didn’t know them well. I looked forward to her hugs. Her hugs were more than just two arms wrapped around me; they were magical. They lifted me up when I felt down, they filled me with strength, they brought light into my dark soul, and they helped me face a harsh world with courage.
Grandma said that she loved all her grandchildren the same, but in my soul, I felt like her favorite. Ever since I was a child, people said I looked like a younger version of her. I believed that made me extra special. Before I went to writing conferences, Grandma would pick a day to take me shopping. She would buy me two nice outfits for the conference and take me to lunch. She even bought me a suitcase set I still have.
I lived with my grandparents for a bit while I was in college. At church and on the phone, Grandma bragged about my good grades to friends and family. She wouldn’t let me help her around the house. She said my college work was more important. She bought me my favorite foods, and when I got sick she nursed me until I was well again. I just wish I hadn’t been so sick and could have lived with them longer.
Even though I was at the deepest depth of my mental illness, I couldn’t let my grandparents know how sick I was. They enjoyed having me live with them, and I couldn’t crush their hearts with the knowledge I was trying to take my life. Even though she didn’t know, it was her endless gifts of love that kept me from succeeding with suicide. She was the one light I had to hold onto in my darkest times.
Grandma had a deep love for God. She didn’t have to preach the word of God, because she lived in his light. She spread her passion for the Heavenly Father by the life she lived. She gave kindness to everyone around her, she gave endlessly, she never judged anyone, and she touched people with a smile. Her faith is what got her through some very rough times in her life. When her son was killed by a drunk driver, she got on her knees and prayed. When she got in an accident that left a mother childless, she prayed for strength. When she had little money to feed her children, she prayed. God was her strength and guiding light. Her love for the Heavenly Father was so great that you could see it in her eyes and smile. She was the most faithful and religious person I’ve ever known.
My grandma has always been a huge part of my life and will forever remain in my heart. She watched me take my first steps and from heaven she’ll watch me take my exciting steps into publication when I publish my memoir. I believe she will continue to watch me with each new step I will take in my life.
Grandma always said, “Never say goodbye, because I will see you again.” So when I went to see my grandma lying in bed, skin and bones, her glow fading and death calling her, I didn’t say my goodbyes, but instead I told her, “I will see you again.” Some day when it’s my time to go to heaven, I will be reunited with my grandma and I will give her a big hug.
Today, the day this post goes out, I will be sitting at Grandma’s funeral whispering, “I will see you again someday.” No matter how long it takes, I will see her again. Until then, I will live my life to the fullest and use my writing the way God wants me to, to help others. I’ll give from my heart and I will live in God’s light, like Grandma did.
See you again Grandma. You live in my heart and I will always be thankful to be your granddaughter.