Groovin' in the kitchen, dancin' in Missoula.

Forward Motion

I’ve been out of town for awhile.
I got to spend time with my sisters. All of them. I have four.
I only cooked hot breakfast cereal. Everything else was either prepared or paid for by someone else.
I saw uncles, aunts, cousins. People that knew me when I was that awkward kid nobody really knew what to do with.
But then we went to a funeral.

My Grandma Paula was one of those people that everyone seemed to know. All you had to do was say you were one of her grandkids, and they’d launch into stories of how much they love her, how much she helped or inspired them. How much they’ll miss her now that she’s gone.

The most impressive thing about my grandmother has everything to do with the people around her. She loved to cook, she loved to listen and she loved to laugh. That perfect trifecta made her the best friend of everyone. She led a full life of happiness, warmth, comfort and faith. She entered the next life surrounded by so much love. Her only regret was that she didn’t make it to her 75th birthday–not that she didn’t have a big enough house or a nicer car.  She just wanted more time to enjoy the life she already had.  The fortune she left us with is the inspiration to lead a happy life surrounded by those you love.  How much more simple/complicated could it get?

I regret not spending more time with her.  I’m sure she knew I loved her, but I hope she also knew how much I appreciated and respected her.  Still do.  I will forever be in awe of that woman.  While I sat with her in her hospital room, it was hard for her to open her eyes, but she was still smiling.  She knew that it was her time to go, and she was so happy that everyone dropped what they were doing to come and be with her on that “holy day”–her words.  She didn’t think she was about to become a saint or anything, but she did know that soon she’d be resting comfortably in the arms of her Maker.  That’s what happens when you live your life honestly, openly and full of compassion.  You don’t fear death.  It was painful, but incredible to watch.

I am so fortunate to have a family that will descend upon a hospital room to hold their wife/mother/grandmother/friend’s hand when she calls.  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such an amazing support system.  People who know exactly what it meant to know her.  And who know what it means to lose her.  Nothing on earth can compete with the intense love of family.  Despite any differences that we may have, love will always bind us together.  And she was a huge source of that love.

Some of the things that stuck with me from the multitude of lovely things said at her vigil are these:  “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved,” and “Life has been changed, not ended.”  What better way to sum up how we’re all feeling right now?  The forward motion of life continues, even after a loss as great as my Grandma.

We love her, we miss her, and we’ll do everything in our power to live by her example.

8 thoughts on “Forward Motion”

  • Amazing Jessica! I thought I was done crying until I read this. You have said everything perfectly. And I dare anyone to do it better. Love you!

  • Jessica,
    That was beautiful and so well said. Mike and I are more inspired than ever to live up to her standards and try to be the kind of person she was. It is the best legacy she could leave, knowing that her children/grand children and all who knew her could take a little something from her great examples and continue being there for others. I am with Erica, I thought I had cried myself out but when I read this, I still found more tears. Thank you for this and for being you! We love you!!!!

  • Jo, after getting your sweet comment over on my blog, I had to come check out your post. And I didn’t want to put it in the comment over on my blog, because it gets to a point where I feel like I’m asking everyone to feel sorry for me, but I also recently lost my grandmother. She passed away about a month before Ginnie got sick…and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put my emotions into a post at that time. If I had though, it would have read almost exactly as yours does, talking about how I regret not spending more time and how I hope she knew how much in awe of her I was. We are so lucky to have encountered such amazing women. Thank you for sharing…your post brought me to tears.

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