Reflecting on a Life Being Lived

10.09.2007


My grandma isn't doing so well. She went in to the hospital due to trouble breathing, feeling weak, etc. and ended up having a heart attack while in the emergency room. She is now out of intensive care, but she is having to stay closely monitored due to fluid in her lungs, her weakened state and well, she just had a heart attack. I am really hoping that she pulls through this. I really wish that I could be there, but know that in reality I couldn't really do anything. I've been told that having visitors is exhausting for her right now.

It's funny, I was really doing alright until I started writing this and now I find myself tearing up. This woman is the coolest woman that I have ever known. The. Coolest. Woman. Her work ethic is incredible, she has taught me so much about life and the rewards of working hard and supporting your family as well as the importance of spending time and taking care of yourself. Something that I get the feeling she learned along the way. She had six children that she raised on her farm as well as housing and caring for farm-hands that came and went throughout the years. I only know the stories that have been passed down over the years to me by my mom or her siblings or by my grandma herself, but often it seems that I was there because the stories are so rich and full of color. Sometimes stories of hardship, struggle, sometimes of sacrifice, sometimes they were stories of children doing foolish yet, shall I say, interesting things, teenagers testing boundaries, boys getting into trouble (my uncles' lives will be passed down as legend one day I swear), sometimes of bounty and success, but most of the time what I felt that was shared in those stories was love. In it's truest form. The nitty gritty kind.

I am so lucky to have gotten to pick apples off the tree that was in the front yard of my grandma's home. The home that she raised all of her children in. I am lucky to have gotten to run and play in the fields on that farm, to get to play in the hay mow. To have gotten to bring my first ever boyfriend there. To have gotten to pick flowers from my grandma's garden. Flowers that she so lovingly planted and tended to. I recall sitting at her kitchen table and listening to the grown-ups talking and laughing (and the men cussing, yes cussing!) while my mother would be rolling my hair in rollers giving me yet another home permanent. I remember sneaking off to go in her bathroom, pretending to have to go only to spend my time looking over her many decorative Avon bottles of perfumes, sometimes I would even carefully take off the tops and take a sniff. I loved looking at her photo albums. I would look at those old photos, some of women in dresses of a style that I had never before seen and lots of men in suits and suspenders leaning against old cars and would wonder about their lives, about who they were and what their stories were. I remember her canning in the kitchen, making jams and jellies, pickles and my very favorite - pickled beets. She always made sure that I was sent some pickled beets...even when in college and in my first years of being married and away from home, I always had some of grandma's pickled beets on hand. Funny how seeing those beets in that mason jar could make me feel close to her.

What an incredible woman she is. I've always had a special connection with her, beyond even what I have experienced with my own mother I think. Perhaps that is just the way it is with one generation removed, but I've always felt that we've shared a special something, a special understanding. How many grandchildren can say that their grandma has chased buffalo? Across the street from her farm the neighbors had buffalo and they, the buffalo (more often than not) escaped and my grandma would end up going over and would get them back in their designated pens. And she would always just laugh it off like it was nothing! This is the same woman that has made hundreds of beautiful and intricate quilts, each with it's own story and with many of the pieces hand cut and sewn. These quilts to me are like my scrapbook pages. Each one has been carefully cared for and created to tell a story and to serve a purpose. She has sewn, quilted, done ceramics, made dolls, mulled wine, baked wedding cakes, and so much more. I can't even recall all that it is that she has endeavored in this lifetime. I am so proud that she is my family, that she is a part of where I came from, my roots.

*ETA* My grandma is now home with my Aunt Sharon. She is still quite weak but is wanting to get back to her old self and that is always a good thing. Thanks to those that left messages and sent emails expressing concern. Really means a lot and I thank you!

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Molly said...

Jen

My thoughts are with you. It's tough to worry about someone you love.

Rosy said...

Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. She is blessed to have you as a granddaughter. Hoping with you that she pulls through.

Pearl Maple said...

You made me cry too, God Bless your grandmother with a few more days to sprinkle her sunshine into your lives she sounds like an amazing woman.

Anne Thompson said...

Wow, and now I'm crying. I will pray for your Grandma, she sounds amazing. And you are so lucky and blessed that you got to do so many wonderful things with your Grandma. My Nanny lived in England and I only got to see her now and then, but have many wonderful memories of her and your words reminded me of how much I miss her also. Thinking of you....