Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Great Gran Gran

Things were a little quiet on the blog after Spring Break, and I wanted to do a catch-up post to mark a very memorable occasion in honor of a truly special lady.

The week after spring break, Jeff and the boys were scheduled to take a trip to Nebraska for a Bible Bowl competition.  On route, Jeff got a call that his Grandmother, who we call "GG", wasn't doing very well.  At ninety five years young, GG was still sharp as a tack and actively doing all the things she loved, like painting, reading, and playing bridge.  She caught a cold over spring break, and it settled right into her chest, slowing her down and confining her to bed for several days.

Upon receiving the news, Jeff dropped the boys in Nebraska, made a big U-turn in the snow, and headed south to Kansas to see his Grandma.  His brother headed out from Texas that same day, and they just so happened to arrive in Kansas within minutes of each other!  They made a late night visit to GG's bedside, and she very much acknowledged that she knew they were there.

The next morning, surrounded by her family, Jeff's sweet GG stormed the gates of heaven.

A talented and accomplished artist, I admired GG for her unbridled creativity.  She worked in a wide assortment of mixed media...paints, wool rug hooking, copper enameling, mosaics, and stained glass, to name a few.  Generally soft spoken, she had a story behind each piece she created, and was always quick to share about her thoughts and inspirations.  She was her own toughest critic, always pressing herself to learn more, and expand her artistic boundaries, and her tenacity resulted in an abundance of beautiful works.

Emma and I drove to Kansas with my sister in law and nephews to attend the memorial service.  The family gathered at Uncle Jim's house, and as I sat among the cousins and listened to stories shared, I marveled at what a wonderful family my husband has, and felt truly grateful to be there.  As matriarch of the clan, GG was so dearly loved and held in such high respect, and it was sweet to think about the legacy we all have to carry on, and the mentors we have to teach us how to do it.

With my mother in law, Nancy, at a reception in Washington DC,
where one of GG's paintings was put on permanent display.  I love this picture
of Nancy.
GG and cousin Emily, one of my very favorite people,
at GG's 90th birthday bash.
With ten of her eleven great grandchildren.  I was pregnant
with Emma when this photo was taken.
I purposely didn't take a lot of pictures in Kansas, but we were fortunate to have a heap of snow, which was a huge treat for my Texas kids.  The boys had a giant snowman waiting for Emma when we arrived.

Also, Emma did GREAT on the car trip to Kansas.  She fought a nasty stomach bug for two days before we left, and I was desperately concerned that the long car ride held potential for disaster.  My nephews had a great line up of movies for her to watch, and a steady supply of snacks.  She felt fit as a fiddle and was good as gold the whole way.  I didn't do too bad myself, if I may be so bold to add.  Kaylyn talked to me the whole way (a novelty for me since I'm used to traveling with quiet Buzzard), and made time fly, so despite my reputation for being far worse than a toddler when trapped in vehicles for extended periods of time, I think I behaved rather well and let Kaylyn off pretty easy!  :-)

GG's memorial service was everything that would have made her the most happy.  It was family, being together, enjoying one another, making the best of each moment....loving, and being loved.  

(And I pray that GG could hear cousin David playing his bagpipes as he led our family down the isle of the church to sit together, because it was one of the most beautiful sounds on earth, and I'll never forget it!)

So, here's to remembering Jeff's GG.  I think he was extraordinarily fortunate to have a grandparent in his life for so many of his years.  And here's to Jeff's Mom and Uncle Jim, as they assume the torch of family leadership, which will certainly always burn bright in loving memory of GG.

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