Gooseberries remind me of you

My grandmother died last night. She was 102 years old. My telephone rang this morning and when I saw my mother’s cell phone number I knew this was The Call. Just last night, my mom had stopped by to deliver my birthday gift (from January).

My daughter sat on my bed in front of me while I answered the phone. I was in the middle of combing out her blond ringlets. My mother told me directly, “Last night Mother died.” At least I think that’s what she said. At these life-altering moments, I seldom remember the exact words.

I hung up the phone and said to my 5-year old, “Great-grandma died last night.”

“Oh,” my daughter said, “She’s going to miss me.”

We’re talked about heaven all day. I can picture my grandma falling into the arms of my grandpa. They were married 61 years when he died on their anniversary nineteen years ago. She has missed him so much. I am so happy that she has finally crossed the threshold into eternity.

I was dry-eyed, curiously unemotional today, though as I bought new flowers and pots for my yard, I couldn’t help but think about my grandmother and her lifelong love of flowers. Rhododenrons remind me of her–she had two giant bushes outside of her back door and my siblings and I lost many bouncing balls inside those shadowy branches. Calla lilies and gooseberries make me think of her, too. As does laundry hung out to dry.

I remember how she sewed me clothes when I was a child. (Always orange and rust-colored, to complement my brown eyes, I guess.) A few years ago, she gave me her treadle sewing machine. I cherish it, even though I’ve never threaded it.

I remember with some lingering mortification, how she taped closed the M&M jar when I wouldn’t stop pilfering those candy-coated chocolates during a childhood stay at her humble home.

I remember her brushing my hair with a stiff hairbrush under a running faucet in the summertime heat. I remember the yeasty rolls she baked and the step-stool she kept in her kitchen where I perched to watch her work. I remember the way she washed dishes–she filled one side with soapy water and the other with steaming hot water. The washed dishes were submerged to rinse in the hot water. Then, always, always, wiped dry with a cotton dish towel.

She never wore a pair of pants in her life, always a dress. If you stopped by during mealtime, she’d have on an apron. I only saw her feet bare once in my whole life and that was when I spent the night with her. Until she was very old, she’d never cut her hair, but wore it twisted up in a bun. She sold Avon when she was younger. Her house always smelled like roses.

I cannot imagine a world where my grandma does not live in her tidy house with her organized drawers and labeled boxes in every closet. I cannot imagine living in a world where my grandmother doesn’t mention my name in her prayers every day. She held my hand to her heart only eleven days ago. I hold her in my heart forever.

Good-bye, Grandma. I’ll see you in heaven. Tell my dad I miss him.

We miss you already.

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Gooseberries remind me of you

40 thoughts on “Gooseberries remind me of you

  1. Sorry to hear of your loss, but what a wonderful way to be remembered. She had a marvellous life in many ways and to be remembered with love and affection is the best any of us can hope for.

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  2. I am so sorry! Not for her, because I believe that she’s with the Lord and her husband, but for your family and your sweet baby girl. Your story really opened a wonderful view into your Gramma’s life with you. It was sweet to read.

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  3. Oh, I’m so sorry, Mel. I didn’t know her, but I think you captured her pefectly. I can picture the rust and orange clothes she sewed for you. My grandmother had a bun with her long hair twisted up too – I think I only saw her with her hair down once or twice.

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  4. B-Lines says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Mel. I’m glad you have happy memories of her. Knowing she knew who you were and held your hand 11 days ago is a real gift.

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  5. I hope this doesn’t sound morbid, but what a wonderful time of year to die. Just before Easter.

    When everything is fresh and being renewed. When our thoughts are turned to the Savior and the glory of the resurrection.

    It is comforting to know 1) that death has only temporary power over us and 2) that we will be with our family again in heaven.

    I am sorry for your loss, but I’m sure your grandma is honored by the tribute.

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  6. {{{{{Mel}}}}} I’m sad to hear of your loss. Grandmas from that generation had many similarities as my eyes filled with tears reading about yours as it was mine. Makes me miss both of my grandmas. And it allows me to ponder my grandmahood…what will those precious babies now in my life think of me someday? What will be my testimony?

    Praying for you!

    Blessings,
    Tammy ~@~

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  7. Jill says:

    My grandma is 100, and they just put her in a nursing home. She is not going to go gently into the night. She sounds like your grandma. I’m sorry for your loss.

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  8. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Mel. I lost my own Grandma a few years ago, when she was 96 years old. I still miss her, but it makes me happy that she was so ready to go, and so excited to see her husband and daughter again. Aren’t we lucky to have had them for such a long time? Hugs to you.

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  9. This was a wonderful tribute and my prayers are with you and your family in coping with the loss. It so reminds me of my own grandmother’s passing just a month before my daughter was born 4 years ago. (Actually last week was the anniversary of her death.)

    The interesting thing I’ve found, is that I have uncovered and realized so many blessings she passed on to me since she’s been gone, even though I thoroughly appreciated her in my life while she was alive. Each time I draw a connection that explains why I think the way I do, or something unique I know that I learned from her, it is like a special gift she’s giving me even still.

    I hope the future holds the same treasures for you with your dear grandmother.

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  10. “I cannot imagine living in a world where my grandmother doesn’t mention my name in her prayers every day. ”

    That seems such a great loss and yet, I’ll bet she keeps mentioning your name every day now she’s home.

    Hugs

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  11. I know this was not unexpected but still it’s hard to lose someone who was so much loved. Your grandmother sounds very like I remember mine, many years ago.

    I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    Ann

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  12. What a beautiful tribute, Mel. It left me with a lump in my throat as I think about my own grandmothers, who are both in heaven.

    My Grandma Garrett also sold Avon, and she must have used some rose-scented products as well, because I always think of her when I smell a rose scent.

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  13. I’m sorry for your loss. You’ve written about your grandmother before with such love and clarity that I feel like I’ve been in that tidy house. What a gift for you to have had her for so long, and for your daughter to have had a chance to get to know her.

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  14. I’m very sorry for your loss… but her gain is something to celebrate. She obviously had a wonderful ministry here, and touched many lives in a great way.

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  15. Therese says:

    I’m sorry about your grandmother. That was a moving tribute to her. We will always have the wonderful memories of our deceased to help us in our grief.

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  16. DrakeNStarrsmom says:

    That was absolutely beautiful Mel!! ((((Hugs))) What a wonderful way to pay her the tribute I’m sure she deserved!

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  17. Marianne says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Your entry made me think of my grandma who passed away 4 1/2 years ago, she was 92. I can only imagine all the things she saw in her lifetime. Amazing!

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  18. Mel, I am so sorry to hear of your great loss. My only grandmothers death knocked me to my knees. I was closer to her than any other relative (with the exception of my son, of course). How could someone so full of spunk and life be gone?

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  19. Mel, this is late. We were gone.

    I am so, so sorry to hear about your grandmother. It sounds like she embodied loveliness and beauty, inside and out. You are going to miss her so much. I think of my dear grandmothers, who died within three weeks of each other, daily.

    Thank God for the hope of heaven—it’s there, waiting.

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