Saturday, November 1, 2008

A life LIVED...

My grandma passed away early this morning. Although it is a very sad day in the fact that her body is no longer here on earth, we are rejoicing that she is finally whole again. We began mourning her loss several years ago after she had a stroke in her home. She never came back from her stroke and has lived her final years unable to do much and not recognizing even her own children. But I refuse to remember my grandma that way. I refuse to look at her life and have these last years define her. That would be ridiculous, because this woman LIVED her life to the fullest. That is how I will forever remember her.
She loved life. She loved family and friends and relationships. Anyone who knew her, loved her and laughed with her and felt full of joy when they walked away from her.
My grandma was fun. I loved to spend the night at her house. She never made me go to bed unless I wanted to. She'd give me sweets and soda and let me watch TV until the wee hours and she'd stay up with me laughing and telling jokes. I have logged more hours playing cards with her than I can begin to count. And I won't lie to you, she cheated. All the time. She tried to say she didn't, but I knew she did. And it still makes me smile as I type it.
She sewed. She did beautiful work. She had tags that she sewed inside my clothes stating that they were specially designed by Marge Stewart. We would pick out fabric and she made 90% of my wardrobe as a child. She taught me how to use a sewing machine and how to iron...at an age when my mom probably would have screamed if she saw me by an iron. But my grandma fully trusted that I could handle it. And I loved that about her.
(i love the above photo because my grandma is telling one of her famous "stories" and Jerod and Jordan, who were highschool friends and loved to laugh at her, were still laughing at what she had to say!)
She pronounced things wrong all the time. Even as an adult I wouldn't put it past her to call me Cathy. And it's not like she barely knew me. We lived in the same town most of my childhood! I would skip girl scouts just to go play cards with her for heavens sake! :)

I never once saw her get embarrassed. She laughed....ALL THE TIME. She would do something silly and she would laugh at herself and move on. And she did a lot of silly things.

She came to every event. Graduations, weddings, showers, bringing babies home. She was always there...cracking jokes, laughing, bringing energy everywhere she went. As a child, she gave me bells. I collected bells, and she would buy me one wherever she went.
She didn't care about money or power or worldly success. She just loved and lived. That's all. And trust me, that is a lot. And I love that that's how I will remember her. I love that that's what she stood for. I love that right now she does not regret not spending enough time with her family or spending too much time focusing on a career or how much money she had in her savings account.

I wear her engagement ring on my pinky finger everyday. It catches my eye often. And forever it will be a reminder of how we should be doing life. Of all the things that I should have learned from her. I think it would do us all good to learn a few things from her. So today there have been a few tears. Some of sadness for the way her life had to end. In the end she had one more stroke in the night, her body finally realizing it was time. And today she is WHOLE again...mind and body. These last years of no cards, puzzles, walks, family gatherings, these years are forgotten and she is rejoicing. And so should we. We should rejoice in the fact that she gets to be whole again. That gift was given to her and she fully knew where she was going today. Thank you God.
Thank you grandma, for showing us what it means to live a life to its fullest.
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.-- Abraham Lincoln

12 comments:

Candi said...

So very true!! You honor her exactly as she was... amazing and loving life!! I am so proud you were able to express the essence of this woman.... she is happy & whole once again... Praise be!!!!!!!

amy smith said...

beautifully written...
makes me long to know her. :)
someday....

Beckysblog said...

You know...she reminds me of someone I know. And I have no doubt you will be that kind of grandma. The one who makes childhood memories that last a lifetime.
What a beautiful tribute.

Courtney said...

what a special tribute to her...

A family in Iowa. said...

Thinking of you, Cassie.

Amy said...

What a great tribute- she sounds like an amazing woman. I remember staying up late at my Grandma's, too, and watching Johnny Carson and Hee-Haw. :) Those kind of memories stay with us forever, huh?

Praying for your whole family tonight.

Heather said...

Grandparents are truly an amazing gift--what wonderful memories you have. Those will be with you forever. Thinking of you tonight.

Melanie said...

what a neat lady. you were lucky to call her your grandma!

Lisa said...

Oh Cassie - that was beautiful...

aware said...

I didn't get to meet her but knowing you and reading your post about her, makes me feel as though I can hear her laughter. I bet her laughter is one and the same. Wish I would have given you a big hug yesterday when I saw ya! Here it is-love you girl! Thanks for all that you are and how you inspire all of us.

Bev said...

Cassie,
What a beautiful tribute. Marge was obviously a very special lady and grandma. Although I didn't get to know her well, I saw her zest for life the night she and Eric kicked up their heels on the dance floor.

It's not hard to imagine her dancing in heaven right now.

Kari said...

Thanks for sharing, Cassie. Beautifully written. Deeply sorry for your loss.