The most like her

31 Aug

Her name was Barbara and she was my grandmother.  She passed away about a year and a half ago and looking back now, I realize how blessed I was to have her in my life.  My grandmother was, without a doubt, the strongest most loving woman I have ever met.  Even the last month of her life, spent in a hosptial room hooked up to machines, I knew that she was fighting to be herself and remain strong for all of us.  Her example of calm resolve during times of dispair or disappointment was a continuous beacon for how I should strive to live my own life.  And, since I was a little girl, I knew that no matter what obstacle I came across in life, she was there for me and had an answer.

Grandma holding me tight when I was little

As the wife of an Episcopal minister, she encountered so many people from different walks of life and always carried herself with such grace and dignity.  Growing up, I attended church with my parents on a regular basis but it was my Grandmother who taught me so much about religion and trusting in God.  Anyone who knew my Grandmother could feel her zest for life, as it was almost contagious.

Grandma comforting me in the hospital

She was a woman of many talents: a great cook, a beautiful singer and an amazing guitar, piano and organ player.  My grandmother was always full of joy and to this day I could feel that joy through and through from the giant bear hugs she would give me every time we saw each other.  Boy, how I’ve longed for one of those bear hugs so many times in the last year and a half!

Grandma always loved the feel of sand between her toes and waves crashing over her feet!

My grandmother and I were always very close.  I know that a huge reason for that was our personalities were so much alike.  Very compassionate people and realistic to our cores, we wore our hearts on our sleeves.  Most of my childhood, we lived no more than 20 minutes away from my grandparents until I was in 6th grade and my family moved to Seoul, Korea.  As a naive middle schooler, you would think that I would have been upset to leave behind my friends and start over in a new school.  But, the hardest part of leaving the U.S. was knowing that I would not be able to see my grandmother anytime I wanted.

For three long years, we lived in Korea and wrote letters back and forth, sent gifts and spoke on the phone with my grandparents probably once a month (that type of long distance call was just quite expensive so it was generally reserved for special occasions).  I still remember how excited I was when the USO on base was hosting an event for a phone company and allowed each American family to make one phone call free of charge back to the States.  The call was allowed on a certain day for a given length of time (I think it was 10 minutes or so).  My family unanimously agreed to make our one phone call to Grandma and Grandpa and we gathered closely into our designated booth in the auditorium to make our call.  I remember silently praying as the phone rang that they would be home and feeling the warm tears slide down my cheeks in joy as I heard my grandmother’s sweet voice speak into the other end.  And, though that conversation was long awaited, we had many phone talks over the years, each one meaningful and appreciated.

Grandma, Grandpa and their dog Doxie

I missed her so much being overseas; both in Korea and in Germany soon after, that as soon as we got back to the U.S., I made a promise to myself that I would visit her and my grandfather as often as I could.  I was starting college when we first returned to the States and they now lived about 35 minutes away but I talked on the phone with her a few times a week and visited every few weeks.  We would discuss life, dreams and anything else that popped into our heads and no matter what it was, I always went to her with it.  I could not receive good or bad news about anything without sharing it immediately with her.

My grandmother helped shape me into who I am today through constant encouragement and I could never thank her enough.  And, even though I spent nearly every day for a few weeks visiting her in the hosptial during the last month of her life, nothing could truly prepare me to lose her.  I have often been told that of everyone in our family, I am the most like her and that is why it hurts so much now that she is gone.  A huge part of me is missing.  I wish every day that I could talk to her, hold her hand again, lay next to her on her bed or receive one of my cherished bear hugs.  But, I am thankful for all of the time that we did have together in my life.  I know that she looks down on me from Heaven and hope that she is proud of who I am today; who she helped me to become.

I love you Grandma and miss you more than words can say!

Task:  This week we asked you to write about a person from your past…but the story had to include YOU.  We gave you the starting point of “His/her name was _______, and looking back now, I realize….”  I cannot do complete justice to everything my grandmother did for me in my life but I hope that I have made her proud in my attempt here.


2 Responses to “The most like her”

  1. Grandpa Charles August 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Yes, she is proud of all that you have accomplished and I am too. Thankfully, reading this brought me to tears for the first time!

  2. Kevin September 1, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Very nice story! She sounds like a wonderful woman. But it was kinda hard to read through the tears in my eyes!

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