Friday, February 26, 2016

Remembering Grandma

My grandma with her children and daughter-in-law, circa 1976.

For every loss I have experienced in my lifetime, it has come as a jolt. Like a car stopping suddenly. With Grandma it was different. She has been confined to a bed for the last three years and has been slowly fading.

Grandpa Moore, me, Grandma and Angela, 1986.

So while death is sad, there is a sense of relief that she has gone home to heaven. Home to loved ones that have gone on before her. Home to a place where she can walk again and do the things she loved the most, where she no longer has to wonder why she is confined to a bed. Some day we will meet her in that place.

Grandma holding Mark, 1986
This week, as we waited for the inevitable phone call, I have been thinking a lot about my Grandma. This sweet, little lady would have turned 95 in June and her life definitely had an impact on my own.

Grandma and Grandpa Moore, circa early 1990s

Before there was Pinterest, there was Grandma Moore...

Grandpa and Grandma visiting us in Corunna, Ontario Canada, circa 1990.

When I think of Grandma, I think of food. Good, southern food. As a child I would pore over her cookbooks, watch cooking shows with her (hello Julia Child), read her Southern Living magazines, and even help her cook

Me and Grandma before my high school graduation, 1998.

She gave me my first taste of cornbread and polk greens (that we helped her pick on the side of the road). There was fried okra (and pickled okra for my sister), sweet corn (and a story that my mom once ate 10 ears of Grandma's corn in one sitting), watermelon, and black berry cobbler (she always made extra pie crust for the cobbler so that Angela, Mark and I could eat it before dinner). Everything was made with love from foods she grew in her own back yard.

Daniel and I at our wedding with all of our living grandparents and parents, 2002.

She was a seamstress who sewed all of her own clothes, and made many matching dresses for my sister and I when we were little. She taught me how to sew when I was about 10, though I am sure she was somewhat disappointed that I never really embraced her lessons. Some days I wish I had paid more attention.

Grandma meeting Jack in Searcy, 2012.

Grandma introduced me to crafting and gave me many books that had step-by-step directions on how to make all kinds of things. Jack even has an original sock monkey that she made for my brother when he was little. And on top of everything, she was pretty fearless. I have vivid memories of her killing snakes in her garden without batting an eye!

Four Generations, Jack was the first grandson, 2012.

As I have gotten older I have come to realize that Grandma had a lot of stories to tell. She lived through the Great Depression where she had a front row seat to many new inventions: from electricity in the home to automobiles and eventually computers and the internet (which I'm sure intimidated her). She was a part of the Rosie the Riveter program during WWII, and worked on Indian reservations in Oklahoma, teaching women to sew and cook. She earned a college degree when my dad was little, and I am actually the third generation on both sides of my family to go to college.

Visiting Grandma when she was first confined to a bed, 2012.
As I look around my own house I see reflections of her. At this moment I am sitting in her father's armchair. I recovered it a couple of years ago and found remnants of at least four different fabrics hidden in the frame. The dinnerware that we currently use was passed along to me when I was in college. They are simple white plates and bowls that have served me well, as they did her. On my porch is her butter churn. It's decorative now, but it was put to good use in days gone by. I have a huge ceramic bowl that she used for holding scraps for her compost pile, and my siblings and I all have quilts that have been passed down from past generations.

Visiting Grandma after she moved in with our parents, 2013.

When I was little, Grandma and Grandpa Moore (her 3rd husband and the man I knew as Grandpa) had a camper and a National Park pass that they would use every summer to travel the country and fish. I suppose that plays a part in my own wanderlust.

Celebrating Grandma's 94th birthday, 2015.

Life for Grandma was hard at times and, like all of us, she had good years and bad. I hope I always remember the good things about Grandma. I am so thankful she was able to meet both of my boys (and her other greats) and I hope to pass along her legacy – a love for Jesus, good southern food, and hard work.

Grandma loved her great grandchildren. Meeting Isaac, summer of 2015.

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