Thursday, July 5, 2012
A Mother's love that never ends
Additions made on 7/20/12
Got the call this morning that Jeremy's grandma finally went from this earth into the eternal presence of the Lord. It has been a rough couple of weeks following her stroke, as her family has gently and lovingly cared for her. Since we live so far away it has been hard for Jeremy and I to not be there to share in this tough time. We are so grateful that we were able to go and take all the kids to visit her just at the right time. Those first couple of days after the stroke she was able to communicate and respond to others. It was a blessing to be able to go during those days, and be able to talk with her. In the days to follow she began to slowly slip away. It was so hard for us to get the reports each day of how she was doing. But, as we recieved each report it helped us take time and remember her as she was. Here are some of my memories of her.
I remember the first time I went to her house to celebrate Thanksgiving (when Jeremy and I were dating). She had a full house of all her grandchildren and it was full of fun and silliness. I remember her scolding the boys not to make a mess in the basement like they had the year before, and them all laughing and joking about how gross it was (she just shook her head, in that way grandma's do her eyes saying boys will be boys). I remember being amazed at how much work she did each holiday meal to make it special for her family.
I remember the many hours she spent helping to prepare for my wedding. The gorgeous flower arrangements she made with love for us. I remember the wonderful baby shower she held when our first born was expected. Many other family celebrations she helped plan and prepare for. She loved to be surrounded by her family. Each of her children and grandchildren held a special place in her heart. She knew each and everyone by name. It always cracked me up when grandpa would mess up one of the kids names, she would correct him with that "oh Norm" voice she used only with him.
I remember her trying to teach me to be crafty. She invited me over and let me make a mess of the ornaments she was painting for Christmas. She and grandpa every year made a special Christmas gift for every family.
I remember, most, the quiet one on one talks at the lake place. It was during those visits that I could see not only her love for her family, but her love for God and others. She liked to hear what was going on in my life and knew how to listen. She often shared her own opinions on issues during these visits, but always in love. She had wisdom to share and often encouraged me in whatever was going on in my life at the time.
One of the things I will never forget about grandma is that no matter where we lived she made a point to come visit my home. When we went to Iowa, she not only came to visit, but actually helped us move there. Once we got there she helped set up and decorate the house. Again when we moved to Michigan she made the trip to come to our house. Then when we moved again to Pennsylvania she and grandpa made the long trip out. This spoke words of love to me in so many ways.
Another beautiful thing about this woman was her love for all her grandchildren, no matter how they came to join the family. It did not matter if a child was born into the family or adopted into the family, in her eyes they were all the same and she poured her love on them all the same.
That last visit we had with her in the hospital will forever be in my memory of special times. Even though she had suffered great damage to her brain, she fought with all her might to connect with each and every visitor that came into the room to see her. I sat at the side of her bed as many visitors came and went. As each one spoke to her, she fought to respond to them with love. Especially the young great grandchildren. As each person would speak to her and hold her hand, she would struggle to open her eyes and speak a word of love to them. Even in her slurred speech you could her her love and encouragment as she said things just for them. Young, Tanner, came to her and she told him what a special boy he was, such a great little ball player. When my own girls came to her, she asked them to sing to her one more time, and told them what beautiful voices they had. When my Daniel, my cook, came in, she talked to him about cooking a meal. It went on and on for each of those who came in to see her, she had a word of love for them to comfort them in her time of suffering.
The greatest testimony of her life is the love that her family poured back on her in those last days. As soon as each of her loved ones heard she was in the hospital it was a regular flow of visitors to see her. The outpouring of love for her was evident when we came to see her, as many other family members also came and went. When it came time to move her home, there was no shortage of volunteers to stay with her and grandpa. This love that her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have for her, is the same love that she gave to them returned back. What a testimony of her life to have so many who cared for her in thos last days.
Her husband, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even one little great-great grandchild will miss her greatly. As well, as many other extended family members and friends. I hope that when the day the Lord calls me home, I will be remembered with so much love by so many.
Wanted to share a cute story about grandma shared from two of her grandson's point of view. This is a story told from Matt DeRoo and Michael Wenger.
It was the night we always "pent the night" so after school we headed over to grandma's house. On our way there we spotted some girls playing outside, and being boys we asked grandma if we could go out and play on the street over from her house. Grandma said we could. Well, we had been out a short time and the next thing we see grandma out taking a walk. We asked her what she was doing, and she said, " Oh just taking a little walk." We continued to play and then we saw grandma riding down the street on her bike. We asked her what she was doing, and she said, "Oh just taking a bike ride." Well, we kept playing and it started getting dark. What do you know we see grandma coming down the road in the car. This time she say,"she's just taking a drive," and we get in the car.
The way these two men told the actual story was much funnier and cuter. But, I wanted to add it here, just to show a side of grandma that I didn't share before. Since I didn't grow up knowing her as a child. She was just that kind of woman she loved and protected the people and animals in her life.
If you would like to read more about Jeremy's family and grandparents, click here.