Sunday, October 13, 2013

Journaling and Remembering a Life

My grandmother has been in poor health for many years.  A few weeks ago, my mom called me and said things did not look good, so I began preparing myself for a trip to Missouri.

Hubby and I had a planned trip to Georgia last week, and as I was packing on Tuesday for the trip, Mom called to tell me they were pulling Grandma off of her medication and that it would only be a matter of hours.  We were halfway to Georgia when she called to tell me that Grandma had passed away.  Even though I was prepared for it, hearing news of a loved one's passing is never easy.

We continued our trip to Georgia and stayed there for a day, then I traveled to Missouri with my parents for the visitation and funeral.  It was a very nice service.  We have an enormous family (the number that was counted up was that Grandma had 5 children, 16 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren).  Since we have always lived so far away, it was good to see and catch up with aunts, uncles, and cousins that we rarely see.

During the visitation and service, Grandma was remembered for her love of her family, for her sewing, and for her cooking.  I am so blessed to have some things that she made for me that I treasure dearly.  The most special is probably the quilt she sewed for me for my college graduation despite being in poor health.  I also have some pillowcases that she made, as well as some stuffed animals from my childhood.

We wrote letters for about a year after Hubby started medical school, so I have those as well.  One of my cousins also took a video of her telling me hello and that she loves me a year or so ago, and that is a video I am so thankful to have.

I also have many of her recipes, and all of my friends should expect oatmeal cookies for Christmas!

We stayed with my uncle, which is also where Grandma's things are stored.  After the funeral, he told my sister and me to go downstairs, look through her things, and pick out anything we wanted.  I found a beautiful pin, and also her sewing basket.  More special items to treasure!  I didn't want things just because they were Grandma's (she loved her bear knick-knacks, but I didn't want one just because it was hers).  I wanted something of hers that I could use and cherish.

One of the items we ran across was a planner from 1997.  We could tell that Grandma had updated it every year and used it like a journal.  It was so fun reading excerpts from it.  She used the monthly calendar pages as a reminder of people's birthdays, anniversaries, and deaths, and she used the weekly pages as a journal.  She also had two other journals that we read through and found some special entries.  I took pictures of the pages that I wanted to remember.

On April 6, 2009, she wrote, "Well, I was going to keep the journal up to date.  Need I say more!  Well, this is the 6th, you can figure out the rest!"

I love how she described this lady as a "grand" friend.  Another woman she described as a "dandy lady."

Another entry cracked us up:

I write all of this to say that I think she had a "grand" idea to use a planner as a journal.  The other two were just regular journals, but this was so much fun to read and remember her.  I would like to leave behind something like this for my children (or even my future self!) to read.

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