Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Legacy

She sat in her chair in her home, sharing family history with my oldest two children, my husband and I. She took out a treasured box of pictures and smiled as she told stories of her family, his family and theirs. Near the end of the day, when is just my Grandmother and I, she looked at me with her eyes sparkling and said, "The Lord gave your Grandfather and I quite a legacy."

She is the last grandparent I have left and I love her. To her, the legacy wasn't her career, which was quite impressive. She was a special education teacher for children with severe emotional and behavior disorders, and she was good at it. Her symbol, her mascott was the bumble bee, because well, they aren't supposed to be able to fly. She said her kids were like the bumble bee. They often were able to rise above what "should" have been.

She could do ANYTHING creative. She was an artist in many areas. She created quilts that are stunning, crocheted anything from intricate doilies to delicate clothes that looked like gossamer. She created more needle point than I could descibe past saying they were beautiful. She was a designer/seamstress. She could look at something, make a pattern and create stunning clothes, dolls for grandchildren, and christening gowns for her grandchildren. She could take something and make something stunning from it. But to me, most importantly, she designed and made my wedding gown.
Yet, with all these amazing qualities (and I have left out many for the sake of space) they were not in her mind her legacy. To her, it was her walk with the Good Lord God Almighty and the life she and my grandfather shared with their four children. She was a Sunday School teacher for all ages throughout her life and lived her life in service to our Lord. She and my grandfather had four children. On the day I mentioned above, as we were sharing things, she said to me, Your Grandfather and I have passed on our legacy. Our four children have served the Lord their entire lives. They all taught their children to love the Lord and our grandchildren are serving the Lord and teaching their children to do the same. She said this with such joy and motherly/grandmotherly pride. She explained to me with a twinkle in her eye, "I'm not standing in line for a bus ticket, but if the Good Lord sees fit, I'm ready."

Memories are precious and her legacy lives through us. I am not the only grandchild. Each of us have our own memories, as she knows us all by personality and relates to us in a way that was special to us. For me, she passed on her love of reading to me. I believe I have her love of children and determination to make a difference in the life of a child from her.

I remember when I was still a teen and Grandaddy had passed away, she got out a tape recorder and pushed play, it was my Uncle  singing, "He came Special Delivery." She explained she listened to it on the days when she especially missed Grandaddy. She then played a tape of myother Uncle playing the guitar, saying, "he got his father's love of music."  She was so proud of my Aunt who became a teacher like her, and often said, "I could never  have finished school without your mother, she kept the house together with the other children."

How many of us remember the fear of spiders? I remember being on my knees 5 1/2 months pregnant looking for a spider to kill it. There was no fooling her. She wanted the dead body as PROOF. hehe..
When I was small I was convinced that Wind Song was the smell of my Grandma. She wore it everday. You see, it was Grandaddy's favorite. I remember being in first grade and thinking she had come to school to see me when the teacher was wearing the same thing. (we lived 12 hours apart)
I wouldn't trade the hours we spent together the summer she came to stay with us and made my wedding dress. She talked with me about marriage. What made a good one. She talked with me about what makes a home, how to make it feel like home without alot of money. She shared with me about her early years of marriage and I could see through the eyes of a young woman about to be a bride, how much she loved my Grandaddy.

She prays for each of her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren everyday, and not just bless this one or that one. She prays specific prayers for each of us. She brings us all before the throne of grace and intercedes for us. This, this was her legacy, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

I wrote this several months ago for My Grandmother.  She will never read it.  This day was coming and I knew it was.  You see, my brilliant sophisticated Grandmother has an aggressive form of dementia, and the time has come that she doesn't know her children or her grandchildren.  We as a family are doing our grieving beforehand.  I am so sad that she doesn't know it's me, but most of all, I am heart broken for my mom and her siblings.  I just keep telling myself that, that empty shell is not my Gram.  My Gram will forever be in my heart.

14 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post Dana.

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother's condition--Jack has a grandfather with the same and so I know a little of the unique grief it causes.

    Hugs!

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    1. Thanks so much. It is very hard some days. Especially when my mom is grieving so.

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  2. I have had the same experience Dana, though I don't think I could express it as well as you did. My grandmother was the most special person to me, the one I'd go to for advice, the one who taught me life's lessons, the one from whom I learned how to be a good person. She too had dementia and it changed who she was. It was sad for me that people in our lives were seeing a different person, not knowing how special she really was. I was sad too that she lived on that way when I knew that was not what she wanted. But by the end, when she was lost in time, I found that she was reliving some of her life again, thinking her mother was still alive and I thought maybe this time for her was not so bad. My grandmother will live on always in my heart. I pass her kindness and life's lessons on to my children and my students every day. I guess, like yours, my grandmother has left a legacy too. Thanks for giving me this moment.

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    1. That is the hardest part. I know my Gram would never want to live with such a loss of dignity..

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  3. Your Grandmother is one special lady. I'm glad you have so many wonderful memories to hang onto. I know what it's like to lose someone special to dementia, and I'm so sorry you're having to go through that. ((((Hugs))))

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    1. Yes Cowgirl, she is. I miss her terribly.

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  4. What a beautiful loving tribute. She sounds truly special. I am so sorry that you are experiencing this and I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

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    1. Thanks Zoe. I think one day, I'll post a picture of my wedding dress..

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  5. Dana - what a beautiful post! So sorry that you, your grandmother, and all those who love her are going through this. I have a philosophy similar to your grandmother - whenever I start missing one of my loved ones who is gone, I simply look at my kids - I can see parts of each of them.

    You are a wonderful granddaughter.
    Cat

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    1. Thanks Cat, I miss her everyday. I hold tight to the fact that the last time I saw her, she truly knew who I was.

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  6. That was beautiful Dana, and yes, she will be forever in your heart! (and you in hers, somewhere deep inside)

    Sara

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    1. I hope so Sara. I am taking my mother to see her soon.

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  7. Yes, your Gram will always live on in your heart, Dana. I'm sorry that your family is going through this now, dementia and related conditions are so heartbreaking. I think you wrote a lovely tribute to your grandmother. (((hugs)))

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    1. If you can pass on such a thing, she passed on her love of children and the need to make a better way for them to me. Grace, she was an amazing womn.

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