As many of you know, my Grama died last week.
Part of me is devestated. She was like a second mother to me. An amazing woman that I just adored, admired, loved more than words can convey. And seeing her with my daughters was such a blessing. She was so patient, so kind, so FUN. Just as I remember her from my own childhood. So yes, part of me is mourning the loss of her presence in our lives.
But most of me is celebrating for her. She is without a doubt in heaven right now. She is with her Savior, and nothing is better than that. She is reunited with my grandfather, which is what she longed for every day for the past 5 years. She is in paradise, and I am happy for her.
I believe that happiness is a choice, and I choose to be happy. Some days you have to choose it more than others. Some days I have to remind myself over and over (and over) again. But regardless – I choose happiness.
So I have joy in my heart today, even as I miss my Grama. Praise God for allowing us to know there is a bright side to everything, even in mourning. Praise God.
Thank you all so much for coming here today. It is a difficult time for our
family, and we truly appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have been
shown over the past few weeks.
And since you are here, you probably already know what an amazing woman my
grandmother was. The mold was certainly broken when God made her. I have been so honored, so blessed, so privileged to have her in my life. There could be no
better example of God’s love.
In thinking about what I wanted to say today, the words that would best sum
her up…what I came up with is ‘classy’. Mary Roberts was a real class act. She
looked the part, she acted the part – she lived the part.Pap used to laugh about
the time a girl in our church told him that he looked like an oil baron. And he
did always look very polished. On Sunday mornings especially, my grandparents
were as regal a couple as I’ve ever seen. But for those of us who really knew
him, we can attest that he looked that way only because my Grama was laying out
his clothes for him. She very carefully coordinated her dresses to his ties, and
always made sure he had a freshly pressed suit to wear. Grama took great pride
in their appearance and it showed. Which made it all the more amusing the time
she realized she accidentally wore two different shoes to church!
My grandmother-in-law first met Grama at my wedding shower, and they were
fast friends. Granny told me just a few days ago what a true lady my grandmother
was, and I have to agree. She was always a lady, no matter what. So when Pap and
Grama decided to cut tomato stakes, and Pap’s plan for cutting the rebar instead
sent Grama flying off the porch and onto her bottom in the driveway, despite the
pain my Grama’s immediate reaction was to say, “Oh, I hope none of the neighbors
saw that!” Our family admittedly has a sick sense of humor, and we all tend to
laugh when more sensitive people would probably not. Needless to say, that
anecdote has gotten a lot of mileage over the years. Even in pain, Grama was a
But she was not prim and proper by any means. Grama was never afraid to be
silly. I will never forget the time we went out to eat and Grama whispered her
order to the waitress. Everyone had their food and we were concerned about hers
taking so long…only to look up and see an enormous banana split coming her way!
My Grama knew how to let loose. We rode bikes, played frisbee, threw lawn darts
(which I’m pretty sure are now outlawed in all 50 states). Grama was fun.
As children my sisters and I spent nearly every Friday night at their
house, for just that reason. Mom and Dad weren’t going out (as you may know,
there’s not a whole lot to do in Rices Landing) We went to their house only
because we wanted to be there, to be with them. And who wouldn’t, really?
Breakfast in bed, all the coco wheats and bacon a girl could want. Even a drawer
full of twinkies. It was paradise up there. We had trips to feed the ducks and
get ice cream, and Grama played games like Trouble and Sorry. And of course we
watched the Price Is Right. Even my daughters love to watch The Price Is Right
now, thanks their GG.
My Grama never had a bad word to say about anyone. Ever. Even when they
deserved it, even when it was understandable. Her ability to hold her tongue was
enviable, and a trait that I unfortunately did not inherit. Chris can attest to
this. But I do aspire. If I could be even half the woman my grandmother was, I
would be lucky. Never have I known anyone as disciplined as her. When Grama had
back surgery, the doctors gave her a list of exercises to do, and she did them
faithfully, first thing every morning. Every morning. When she was told to avoid
red meat, she didn’t touch it for years. Her willpower was amazing to me.
Thankfully the doctors never told her to avoid chocolate, or we may have seen a
great woman stumble.
It’s hard to squeeze in everything that I want to say about Grama. She was
so amazing, and I don’t know how to edit that. She loved to sing. She taught me
silly songs at home (Jonathon, Joseph, Jeremiah) and belted out hymns on Sunday
mornings. She never complained. She liked to go out to eat, and to go for a
ride. Grama knew every road in the county, and many beyond. She had perfect
posture. She loved to dance, and taught me to waltz for an elementary school
play. She was a great audience. Always patient, always kind, always encouraging.
She went to great lengths to ensure that her Christmas gift-giving was exactly
equal for everyone. She loved to brush hair. I remember her sitting in her
rocking chair, brushing our hair when we were little girls. Years later she sat
in that same chair and brushed her great-granddaughters’ hair as well. She knelt
beside her bed to say her prayers. The image of my Grama, on her knees and
praying, is one I will carry with me forever. I was with her the night that Pap
died, and just as she did every night, she knelt and thanked God for His
blessings. Her faith is an inspiration to me.
My Grama blessed hearts. A conversation with her always included at least
one, ‘Bless his little heart,’ especially when talking about her
Grama rarely missed Jeopardy, and she never ever missed a Steelers game. I
spoke with my sister a few days ago, and she asked me to be sure that Grama was
buried with her terrible towel. I’d never have expected Grama to leave us right
before a big game. I wonder if she and Pap will be bickering over the plays in
Heaven, just as they did here.
Almost exactly five years ago I stood in this same place, paying tribute to
my grandfather. It was a very difficult thing to do. Even though I knew he was
in a better place, I hurt for those of us left behind. I hurt for my
grandmother, who spent 62 wonderful years with the love of her life, and now had
to find away to live without him. Today as I stand here, I still mourn our own
loss. But far more than any sadness I feel, I have joy in my heart. I know that
Grama is in a better place; she is with her Savior, and reunited with Pap. This
has been her hearts desire for the past 5 years, and I am happy for her –
because I know that she is finally at peace. Finally whole again.
When Grama fell ill last week, I was faced with the task of telling my
young daughters. I prayed for God to provide the right words, the right message,
when I knew that my own explanations would be inadequate. And as I told my
5-year-old daughter Annie, I watched her eyes turn red and fill with tears. I
worried about her reaction, and what comfort I might provide. And slowly she
turned to me, with a smile spreading across her sweet face, and she said “I’m so
happy for GG, that she gets to be with Jesus and Pappy again.” Amen little girl,
So please, please do not focus on our loss. Please hold in your hearts and
your minds the image of Grama and Pap together again. Whole again. Happy again.
Because they are happy, I guarantee you that. They were truly meant to be
together, and praise God, we know that now they are.
xoxo I love you Grams.