Sunday, January 18, 2015

Remember Grandma

I wrote this just because a few months ago before her health severely declined, and I just wanted to post it, for my history's sake. I wanted to remember anything and everything I can about Grandma.

Her delicate frame fell into the chair, her legs slowly lifted as she mechanically reclined the sofa, she reached for a sip of water, adjusted her glasses, and was peacefully settled.

I had been with my grandma for nearly 15 seconds, but that had given me enough time to identify her incredibility. Her pen and paper were placed on the first nightstand with in hands reach. The pages were falling back into their position under the spiral bound--I knew that it had been recently used. Grandma always taught us to write down each and every spiritual impression and tender mercy. She was still a faithful recorder keeper, after all these years. She never wearied of doing the most important things. Thats why her scriptures were perched securely on her dresser, free of sticky grandchildren fingers, water bottle spills, or being covered up by mounds of newspapers.

Adjacent to her 99 cent-precious-notebook sat a white box with a plentiful stash of her life dependency substance--a bar of chocolate. Yes, chocolate. Grandma always said, "if its not chocolate, its not dessert!" Its just what i've learned best from Grandma. Some may say chocolate is her achilles tendon, but her great love for it is what makes her a specialty.

I'm confident that my encounters with Grandma and Grandpa Lewis are plentiful, however, I seem to remember only a handful. Even though I was the 63rd grandchild, they treated and loved me as if I was their only one. I knew that by the way I felt.

I grew up nearly 800 miles from my grandparents. I think I came to know them more through the stories of my father, the emails I read, and the photos I occasionally saw. My siblings retell stories of Grandma and Grandpa becoming their second set of parents, as they lived adjacent to my parent's first home. I wonder what that would have been like? An unlimited supply of chocolate milk, kisses, or stuffed animals?

Now, in my 21 year old state, I relish every moment with Grandma. Returning home from my 18 month mission I was able to spend two uninterrupted hours with Grandma. I listened. I wanted her to teach me everything. 94 years of lived experience and trials, she is the wisest. It was impossible to flip through the whole Rolodex of experiences with Grandma.

She said to me, "Emily, keep being a missionary. And secondly, marry a missionary." Being with grandma in August inspired me to do four things:
1. Read my Scriptures better. She talked about the scriptures as part of her every day conversation. She knew them. She loved them. She used them.
2. Treat others better-- be kinder, do my Visiting Teaching, forgive easily and quickly (more stories on that), interact with people with the purpose to edify, inspire, and uplift.
3. Keep a record of my life-- She has 8 large volumes of history. What a legacy to reap from.
4. "Laugh more, because then you'll spend too much time crying in life." Laugh more without offending the Spirit.

I'll always remember the feel of the tough rope sliding through my small hands as I followed the "iron rod" through the corners of the church building leading me to a perfectly dressed in white, Grandma and Grandpa who waited to greet each grandchild with a tight gripped hug. I felt her squeeze me again as she presented the Young Woman Medallion Statue after my 14th birthday. I remember her cane waving furiously as she sat on the front row of my middle school basketball game. And if I ever wondered where Grandma was, I would find her on the couch doing cross-stitch with a thimble balancing on her thumb.

I filed my memories away in a cabinet of my heart, and tuned back into her stream of words-- teaching me something. Always in the midst of some life story she taught me a gospel principle because thats who Grandma is.

She is a faithful liver and lover of the Gospel.

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Maira Gall