Monday, May 3, 2010

hello and goodbye

I have been thinking about this post for a long time. How am I going to write it, it seems weird to write it? I think it is the main reason I have been so behind on my blogging. But I need to, for me. If you don't read it I will understand, it is just something I need to write.

I would like to dedicate this to my beautiful grandmother Laura Grace Call, she is my Mom's mama. Although she is still with us, she doesn't have much time left, and although I feel like I am saying goodbye too soon, I feel like if I don't express my feelings now, later when she does pass, I will be too upset and probably too emotional to talk about it.

A few weeks ago my mother called me and asked if I would be willing to come with her to Idaho because her mother was very sick, terminally sick. Her health has began to decline very rapidly over the past few months (She also knew I wanted to take Axel up to meet her). She said she wasn't sure when or how long we had. So we made the plan. With my sister and her kids, we drove up there that weekend. Right when we drove into town, my mother got a phone call from her sister, who informed us that my uncle, a Dr., had said she had about a week left. My mom was devastated and emotional and upset, and seeing her this way, really hit me, and I realized, that this was happening, and that I needed to be strong for my mom. Luckily, my uncle was wrong, and she is still with us and it has been a few weeks, but her time is growing short.

When we arrived at the hospital, the feeling was all too familiar, we had done this before, many times with my other grandmother who struggled for many years with diabetes before she passed away a little over 4 years ago. But with this Grandma it was different. My grandma Call was never sick, she was so healthy her whole life, or at least it seemed that way to me. I didn't love this grandma more, but it seemed like with my Grandma Jorgensen, each time we said goodbye to her it was possible that it would be our last time. But walking down the same hallways, I wasn't ready to say goodbye. There was still so much I wanted to know and that I needed to learn from my grandmother, and in a way I felt cheated, because we live so far away and I just BARELY became a mom, and once you become a mom, your world is different, it changes, and you look at things differently. And suddenly the women in your life, the mothers in your life, become saints, angels if you will because of their sacrifice and devotion to make sure you had a happy healthy life. And I felt like with this new appreciation for motherhood I needed more time with my grandmother. It was too soon, I wasn't ready to say goodbye.

When we arrived to her room, she was sleeping peacefully in her bed, and she was so tiny and frail, but still so beautiful. Her skin was still flawless and soft, and I found myself wishing I would have heeded her countless warnings about the sun, so that when I'm 80, I would have looked as stunning as she did.

She was disoriented at first, and I think this was the first time I had seen my grandmother without curls in her hair. Once she saw all the children her eyes lit up and she put on a brave face, even though we knew she was hurting. Because that is the kind of women she is, brave and stalwart. We hugged her and gave her kisses on the forehead. And she, for the first time, met my baby boy. I of course was balling, and so was my mom and big sister, and the kids, well they were just uncertain as to what was going on.

My Grandmother has always been such a beacon to me. I have always admired her strength and her patience. She was the wife of a sailor who through her faith and prayer helped him turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She never gave up on him. I have always admired her for that. I think it would be hard to be married to someone with a different set of beliefs and habits than your own or the ones you would want to distill in your children. It wasn't easy for her for many years, and it wasn't until all their kids were born that they finally went through the temple as a family. What a blessing that temple ordinance has been in the life of their posterity since then. Whenever I think about this story I am floored, because my grandfather is such a great guy. But he has mischief in his eyes, so I could totally see the sailor side of him.

My Grandmother has a fantastic sense of humor. She always told the craziest stories! And always had so many funny things to share about her family. Her stories were ALWAYS the funniest, and so many of her punch lines have become inside jokes to my sisters and I.

I remember when I was little ( lets say 5) we came to her house for a visit, and my parents were going to a reunion or something so we stayed with Grandma. I loved stories, and I knew grandma was always good for a good story. So I asked her to tell me a story. So this is what she told me.

"Once there was a little old lady, who lived all alone in a house in the middle of nowhere. She was very lonely. This little old lady had a mural on the wall, one that had an entire town drawn all over it. Well, this lady each evening would come home and watch her mural and pretend she was a part of the little town.

Well, one evening this little old lady came across a man who had a gun, and was about to shoot someone, and alarmed she yelled "Don't Shoot!" and the little guy in the mural turned to her and SHOT the little old lady and she died. The end."

Yes this is true, she did tell us this story, you can ask my sisters if you don't believe me. I am pretty sure it added to my paranoia a little bit but I loved it anyway. I remember thinking the deer on her wall were going to jump out and kill me in the middle of the night. But I loved that she had an imagination. I think she just liked seeing our eyes light up with horror and disbelief as she told us stories like this. (There were so many more too)

Another memory I have was whenever we would come and stay with her, she would ALWAYS make eggs for breakfast. And they were the BEST eggs. She would make the BEST breakfast. I thought my mom was the LUCKIEST kid in all the world. (I learned later on, that she only did that for us, my mom always got mush for breakfast growing up, so I felt even that much more special, and knew it was a real treat when we came, and that she REALLY loved us.)

When we would stay with my grandmother, we often would fight over who got to play with what trinket and eventually one of us would end up in tears, and within seconds before the first tear could drop from our cheek, my grandmother would be there with a little glass and say "Oh let me catch that tear! I will give you a DIME for each tear I catch in this glass" And sure enough the tears would stop and they would be followed by laughter. Again, I thought my mom had the BEST mom and that my mom must have gotten a lot of money from her. Little did I know that it was just a trick, and that my grandmother just wanted us to stop crying. I plan on using this tactic on my own children/nieces and nephews one day.

My Grandmother instilled in my mother some very wonderful things, who in turn had taught those things to me. I feel very fortunate to have come from such a wonderful line of women. Women of strength, courage, FAITH, humility, virtue, and of course humor. I remember one such occasion. I was a freshmen, and my mother was driving me to school. We were talking about Faith, and my mother told me a story of how my grandmother NEVER stopped praying for my grandfather to join the church. That there wasn't a single prayer that didn't include her plea for him to join the church. I believe this to be true. I believe that my grandmother had the Faith that my grandfather would join the church and it was that faith that led him there. I think about all the Sundays my grandmother had to drag all 6, yes that is right 6 kids all by herself to church. That would be so hard! I would like to imagine that she did it with out guile or complaint, but I am sure it was hard for her, and I am sure she got down on her knees and prayed for strength from our heavenly father every day to endure it.
My grandmother always told us funny stories about my mom, even in the hospital, we were sharing with her a story about Hilary's kids. And she told us one of my mom, and it's cute so I will share...

"When Jackie was born (my moms baby sister) your mother and Janet (my moms older sister) were going through my things from the hospital while I was caring for the baby. When I came to see what they were doing, they had come across a pamplet that had my exercises (birthing) on it, and were trying them out and I said "girls what are you doing?" and your mom (who was 4) said "we're going to get us a baby!"

When she told us this, the whole room went from tears to laughter, again something my grandmother was always so good at.

I remember when I was in the 9th grade I had a project due. We had to document every year of our life with some event. (I know what a painful project) Well, that weekend there was some sort of family event going on in Idaho and our family was going. So while we were at my grandmothers, my mom and I worked on this personal history, and my grandmother joined us. It was a great experience for me. We laughed, told stories about boys and marriage and babies, and scrap booked. My mom told me that my grandmother was always helping with posters and art projects, because she was really good at it, for school or church. And I remember thinking hey that is just like me! And at that moment I realized my grandmother was once just like me.

I don't know if I will ever measure up to be the kind of person my grandmother is, but I could see it in my mothers face that her mama was very important to her. She devoted her entire life to her children and husband and the gospel. I made a resolution to myself that weekend. That I want to be that kind of woman, just like my grandmother, but I think I will have more wrinkles.

And although I said good bye to her that weekend, I know its not the end. I know I will see her again. When we left for home I had peace, I knew that no matter what is in store for my grandmother over the next few weeks. I will see her again.


KaSs MiLeS said...

that was nice to read. i think that you are a lot like your grandma. i'm pretty sure your grandkids and kids will be able to say some of the same things about you that you are saying about your grandma.
i'm sorry you had to say goodbye so soon. That's pretty cool that you got to know your grand parents though, i feel like i missed out on all of that. i never got to know them, mostly my fault though.

Melonius said...

ok, what's the deal? I always got mush!
but, seriously, that was a great post.

Melonius said...

but she did always cut up the bananas for me and let me eat them with a toothpick.

rainey said...

I'm sorry this is happening, Amy...I know that it's so hard to lose someone that you love and no matter what, you just never have enough time. I'm glad you got to see her in happiness, if not in the best of health. I'm sure it made her feel just as good as it did you. And meeting your son, I'm positive was something she'd been waiting to do. You're a good person, and like Kass said, the things you told us about your grandmother are things I can see in you, too. I never had that relationship with my grandparents, either. Everyone has a different experience. I'm glad that yours was memorable, and something that you can look on, fondly.

Kyle said...

She sounds most excellent.

My grandpa passed away in 2004, and he was like a dad to me. I spent more time with him than probably any other adult when I was a kid. It's hard to lose someone that you look up to and love. But it's super awesome that you learned from her while she was here. And I'm sure she'd be glad that there's some of her in you.