On Friday, November 5th, Grant’s maternal grandma passed away at the age of 87. For the past few years, she had suffered a stroke and had limited mobility. Over the past few weeks, her health was declining and was placed in hospice care. Fortunately, the doctors called my family to spend Friday with her. My sisters were able to hold her hand until the last moment.
While many of you may not know my grandma, I wanted to share some memories from her life. For starters, I would not have my name without her, as she married my grandma, Ray Grant, and my mom passed her maiden name to me. My 1/4 Norwegian heritage also comes from her, which I am proud of. She grew up in NE Iowa, in a largely Norwegian community of Decorah. What I remember from her childhood was how her duty was to bake a cake EVERY afternoon for her large family. Maybe it was a different time and place, but it also made me laugh to think of having cake every dinner.
I also remember laughing with her about various things. She used to have a Chrysler New Yorker that said, “The door is ajar,” when you opened the door. As a kid, I didn’t know the word “ajar.” So, I always thought it was calling the door a “jar,” which didn’t make any sense to me. Being silly, she would also pronounce foreign words, like French, as they looked. One example is her calling hors d’oevres “horse dervies.” She knew the correct French for appetizers, but it made us smile as kids. The greatest joke that comes to mind was at a birthday party when I was likely in Elementary school. She brought in this huge box wrapped in paper. As I tore into it, I noticed the label and the smile melted off my face. Trying to be respectful, I thanked her for her gift, though I didn’t know why she would have thought I would like it. It was a ceiling fan (box)! Just like you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, you can’t know the gift just by looking at the box. Inside, it turned out to be a giant “Fievel” stuffed mouse (from the movie, “American Tail”). I loved it, but felt so embarrassed by being so gullible in thinking she would give a kid a ceiling fan as a gift.
Another memory stays with me due to my scar. During the floods in 1993 in Des Moines, her basement flooded and she broke her leg by slipping on the water as she was cleaning up the mess. My job as a 12-year old, was to take turns staying with her and helping out around the house. We played a lot of cards and Scrabble (which was her favorite game with my mom). One day I was cutting watermelon and sliced my finger. As it bled and bled, I begin to feel faint and my face turned white. Next thing I know, I wake up in a pool of blood on the floor after passing out and hitting my head on the counter. I ended up getting stitches around my eyebrow, which was a first for me. We had a great time that summer, despite my injury.
When she moved into her retirement community in Ankeny, anytime I visited, she would always want to introduce me to her neighbors. You could tell that she was proud of her grandkids. She greatly loved us and we greatly loved her too. She will be missed. But, we have hope that we will see her again in heaven. My sister talked with her last week and heard her share her faith in Jesus. This is a great comfort. She had been to church as a child, but never expressed much interest in my lifetime. Though her short-term memory was fading these past few months, a nurse mentioned how she would sing hymns that were lodged in her long-term memory. Just like Miho’s dad taking 20 years of prayer and finally a heart attack before he came to faith, we hope this will be a hope for any of you who have family that you have been praying for over many years.