Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions for this mama. I sent my oldest to her first day of kindergarten, and even though she attended pre-school for the past few years, Kindergarten feels different. This is a new season, and she is growing up. Our family is praising God for the school, her teacher, and an as-close-to-perfect-as-we-could-get first day.
Yesterday also marked the one year anniversary of losing my most precious Gram.
To explain to someone who did not know her, I feel it’s nearly impossible to communicate all that made Gram the woman that no one can forget, but I’ll make a feeble attempt at painting you a little bit of the picture. Gram (“Mary” to her friends, “Mom” to her four kids) was absolutely full to the brim with life. Everyone that knew Gram knew her as a woman overflowing with passion for life, true love for those around her, an ability to laugh in the midst of any circumstance, a quick wit, and a tenacious spirit.
She was the life of the party and definitely knew that life was too short to take herself too seriously. Gram had an insatiable thirst for books and knowledge (she averaged a book a day for most of her adult life!), and a deep appreciation for nature: cherry blossoms, sunsets, fall foliage, the lake, none of these passed by her unnoticed. She was a ridiculously hard worker, a chronic night owl, a wicked coffee drinker (I blame her ;)), a fantastic story teller, a generous giver, a stranger to no one, and a best friend to too many to count. Gram made everyone feel special, important, and loved.
Despite the very hardest of life circumstances, Gram lived life well.
My sister, Diane, posted the most beautiful words about Gram yesterday, so I share those with you today, because she says it best:
A little over two years ago I wrapped my arms around you at my wedding and said ‘thank you’ for a lifetime of amazing memories and for never failing me. Your presence in these major moments in my life mean more than our language has words to say. How little I knew that only a year later you’d be sick and I’d be saying goodbye to you. How has yet another year gone by on top of this and now we reflect on the day we lost you? Time is passing so quickly before me and I don’t want to lose valuable moments of my life. Your voice and words of wisdom will never part from me and remind me daily that I have to fight fiercely and live fearlessly. There aren’t many people I can say this of, but you are truly an original Gram. No one is like you or ever could be. You are a rock for so many of us, holding us down and grounding us. Don’t forget us as we continue to try to remember your example, to live with laughter and have a good time, and to be kind because, like you said yourself, “in the end, all that really matters is kindness.” ♥
Thanks, sis, for sharing this song
And to hear perhaps the most beautiful account of the end of Gram’s life, I pray you would set aside a few quiet moments to listen to this message. It’s the Christmas Eve message, so scroll down to the link for December 24, 2011 by Pastor Kerry Willis. When he mentions Adrian, he’s talking about my husband, and I’d be Lauren (in case you missed that ;)).
My heart’s desire is that everyone would know the testimony, God’s story, of not just Gram’s life well-lived, but also of her life well-finished.
The June before she passed, I gave Gram a Bible. After she died, it was given back to me. Here is the note I wrote to her in the front cover on June 17, 2011, just over two months before she left this world for another:
I am sure that no one in the world has read as many books as you! Yet I was so excited when you asked for a Bible, as I truly believe there is no other book that compares. I pray you will find hope in God’s words written to you, “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword; it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
While there are times I may read something I don’t understand or that I have questions about, I have found the richest blessing comes when I choose the way of trust and faith.
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
I hope you don’t mind that I’ve marked a few of my favorite scriptures; if you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend John :) Philippians and Isaiah are also two of my favorite books.
So glad you asked for it! And “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19). You are precious Gram! I love you so much! -Lauren
Next to meeting Jesus, I have no doubt that the best part of Heaven will be seeing you again, my sweet Gram. I’m not too sure about what life is like in Heaven, but since you told us you hoped to get the task of greeter at the gates, perhaps it will be your big hug, warm voice, and sweet laugh ready to meet us as the doors. Til then, I’ll try to live and love well, and I’ll be missing you like crazy. xo