July 25, 2013
In 2009 I wrote my grandmother a goodbye e-mail, not because she was necessarily close to death but because I refused to be robbed of the chance to say goodbye. Tonight, I found out that my dear grandma has passed on from this life. It seems an appropriate time to share this and her response below it.
I could tell you I'm not ready, but that's not really fair.At this point I'd imagine you're almost anxious to stop growing old and reclaim your independence. I would be, too. Turning back the clock on age and the accompanying achy muscles was never an option, but you always told me you had wonderful memories. A beautiful life to think back on during these quieter days. But I have to ask, how does it feel to watch your days grow dim?What have you forgotten that you can't wait to remember on the other side?Will you remember me and how much I loved you?
I hope Jesus lets you read my writing even from heaven. He'll know how much it means to me. I hope He lets you watch me dance on Pikes Peak with my children. One day when I'm there, I will feel you and tell them this is where Grandma Jean and Grandpa Charles met, where they fell in love. I will teach them to listen closely to the mountain and understand the wisdom it whispers in our hearts. I hope Jesus will let you watch me as I wear your jewelry to dinners, Christmas parties, to my children's dedication ceremonies and to my first book signing in New York. I hope Jesus lets you feel the stories I tell my boys about the courage of Grandpa Charles—how men these days just don't experience life at such an extended risk. And how one day, they too, could be brave like my grandpa.Most of all, I hope Jesus will remind you of all the ways you carry on inside me.Thank you, Grandma, for giving me my writing voice. Thank you, Grandpa, for showing me the way to the foothills of the mountain. I'll love you for ever.
My dear Amanda
Good writing ability can cause tears of gratitude, and your letter sure did that. I have never heard any of you talk of "the Other Side," of which I have been reading much lately. It sounds so beautiful that I can hardly wait. In fact, I told your Dad last week that if I "don't make it this time" I want you to rejoice over my life and not go around crying. After all, that is really selfishness. I have no qualms whatever in talking about it. I remember when I was about six years old, on a New Year's Eve with friends, I asked my Dad if they were sad at getting older. He said he just never thought about it, but took it a day at a time, whatever came and when.
Bonnie is here helping us get things in order. Yesterday we signed up for help around the house a couple days a week, building up to more as needed. I'm just grateful Grandpa is still doing as well as he is. I seem to have "gone to pieces" since I had another fall and hit my head pretty hard. I work puzzles from the paper to help bring back my proper sense of perception, and think it is helping. But I walk slower (to try to eliminate any more falls -three in the past two weeks) and it takes so much longer to get anything done. Grandpa, at his age should be waited on and not have to wait on me. Makes me feel guilty.
Now to the rest of your letter. (I printed it so I could re-read it from time to time.) As to what I remember from the Other Side - nothing. I know I'll see all the family over there and they'll be waiting to welcome me. I also know the beauty there is beyond description and all we have to do is think of something we want - and we'll have it. So we need to learn to be careful what we wish for and be grateful if the answer isn't what we asked for. Nothing happens by accident - and - Nothing REAL can be threatened. We need to keep that in mind during these troubling times. I'm really ashamed of myself for complaining about anything because so many people have so much less than we do. But I think it's inherent here in the material world to never be happy because they always want more - and love to complain all the time. The more I read,the more I learn to accept whatever is given to me - including my present situation. Some of His "tests"are hard to pass sometimes.
Yes, I'll always remember your love for all of us and wish we could have been nearer. As for Colorado Springs, when we signed up for the home care, the woman was from Colorado Springs. She and Grandpa really did a lot of reminiscing. (She's just young, so more on the part of Grandpa and me.) Hope it is God's will that you can enjoy it, too. Your writing is so beautiful that I can just picture everything you're saying. Am sure they appreciate that part of your work as we do. Write from your heart and not from what the majority of our people are saying. I wish you much happiness and success in your life, and you will get it when you let God be your guide.
Getting old isn't like the "Good Old Days" that so many talk about. We laugh about it from time to time and wonder how we missed them. But we had many wonderful years together and all of us will be together again.
Thanks you so much for such a lovely note; I'll treasure it. Am sure my Dad is keeping an eye on all of us who picked up his "forte."
Love forever - Grandma
P.S. Maybe some of this doesn't make sense, but I'm not going to re-read it. This is the way I feel. I'm just tired - tired - tired. Bonnie, Grandpa and Steve are out for lunch and running errands. I'm happier here at home alone - with peace and quiet. Just wish the weather would makeup it's mind which way to go - up or down.