Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21b
My dear Grandma Galbreath had her first Christmas in heaven yesterday. She passed away yesterday afternoon, after struggling to breathe for several days. She has lived in a nursing home for almost 8 years, so it has been a slow and steady progression from being a vibrant, very mentally sharp woman, to being only a shell of what she once was. These last few years, she was unable to talk clearly, as she'd had several strokes. Her eyesight had failed her as well, due to macular degeneration.

It's hard for me to put into words what this woman meant to me. If you would have asked me when I was, say, 10, "who is your favorite person?", it's likely I would have said that she was. We had something special. I have so many memories of walking to her house after school, where we'd watch soap operas (something forbidden in my house :-), drink Mt. Dew (hmmmm....do you think there's a connection to my current addiction?), and eat air-popped popcorn. When I was really little, I'd climb up into her lap and sit there most of the time. As I got older, I started sitting on a little stool that she'd set right beside her Lazy Boy. Yes, there was a couch I could have sat on, but I had to be close to her. I suppose that as I became a teenager, I moved to that couch. I spent countless nights at her house. As with the lap, stool, and couch, there was a progression from sleeping with her (she had the patience of a saint, I'm pretty sure, as I now know what it's like to sleep with a squirmy 4-yr.-old), to sleeping in the spare bedroom, to eventually not having very many of those sleepovers. Of course, as is the normal progression of life, I grew up, got married, and had my own kids. Our relationship changed. It has been very difficult to watch her go downhill these past few years. But I can see now that I've been letting her go, very slowly, for quite some time now. I'm crying as I write this, but I do praise God for the 93 years he gave her, and the 34 I've had with her. It drives home to me the importance of grandparents, and the huge impact they can have in a child's life. She was my soft place to fall, the one who never could really get mad at me, the one who would spoil me just a bit, the one who always had a full candy jar in the kitchen, and a pack of spearmint gum in her purse. Thank you, Grandma. See you someday in heaven. We'll sit down with a Mt. Dew, and I might even crawl into your lap.

When Paul was just a month old. This is how I want to remember her.

Marie Johanna Holtz Galbreath, 12-13-14 to 12-25-2007. Sonya's middle name, MarJean, is after her, as well as my Grandma Jeanette, who died a little over 4 years ago.

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7 comments:

Sharon said...

How wonderful to have those memories, you brought tears to my eyes Sara. What a wonderful legacy she left you with. You are blessed!

Wheelers said...

Sorry to hear about your grandma. She sounds like a neat lady. (even if she was to blame for getting you hooked on Mountain Dew!!!!!)

The Sandman Squad said...

What a delightful woman she was!! I was truly touched by the history behind the unique and cherished relationship with your Grandma. I too was teary eyed. We all wish that the relationships with grandparents can be as special as yours. Our prayers are with you & your family.

Grandma Joy said...

Grandmas are pretty special and I am sorry to hear about her home going. Do you suppose she will meet my Dad? It's nice to think of all the friends they will meet. Dad never knew a stranger. We will be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the death of your grandmother. She sounds like a wonderful woman. Teresa

The Maris' said...

Grandparents are so wonderful. I am so glad that you have so many memories. She may be gone in body but not in your heart.

Emma's Mom said...

Sara, I am so sorry to hear of your grandmother's passing (& also sorry for how long it has taken me to catch up on your blog!). I have some memories of your grandmother from when we were young "angels", and remember how special she was to you. As my dear grandmother Ethel passed away 2 years ago, I am absolutely convinced that my grandmother has taught your grandmother how to "kick in a snappy way to the song I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy", and they are having the greatest time in heaven watching over us. AND, they are waiting for us to join them for a rousing rendition of the song...complete with styrofoam hats.