Two weeks ago my sweet Grandma entered Heaven.
I remember the last conversation I had with her. We talked about life and how long it can feel when you get old. How your body starts to shut down and every part of you is ready to see the face of God. We said our good-byes. I tearfully told her how much I loved her. We shared good memories of me growing up under her watchful eye. We laughed about silly moments but mostly we talked about Heaven. Looking back it was a gift from God. I called her again a month later and she didn’t know who I was. She acted like she did, but I knew in my heart she didn’t know me. I cried after that call. Oh, how I grieved. Her memory came and went over the months, but we didn’t speak again. I tried to call twice, but for various reasons she was wasn’t available to take my call. While I was able to grieve, my family who lived close to her were in the middle of a difficult journey.
I’m thankful for my Aunt Britta, Uncle Corky, and cousin Branigan who served my Grandma with love and compassion. They were so diligent about keeping us updated and sharing moments. Grandma knew she was loved and she entered Heaven happy and whole once again.
When I think of Grandma I remember a small woman who was full of spunk. She loved to laugh and always wanted to know how her grandkids were doing. Every call or visit would be filled with kisses and love. She wanted to know every detail of our lives, then always reminded us she was proud. My sister remembers her wearing pantyhose in the middle of the summer (under her shorts) because she would never leave the house without them. The heat in Houston could reach 100 plus degrees, but she had her ways and lived by them.
I remember her driving her small four-door car with American flags flying from two windows. She loved being an American. She came from a generation that never questioned the blessing of living in this great country.
Grandma’s favorite meal was a hamburger. She wasn’t picky on where it came from she just wanted her burger. We use to tease her about it, but looking back I love that she ate what she wanted and enjoyed life.
When I was a kid, my mom worked long hours to support us, so Grandma and Grandpa would watch us after school. I remember on our days off Grandma would take us to work with her. Chick Publication. She worked in the warehouse packing orders and we’d help her or play around. I remember reading as many of the tracts as I could because even then I was learning about story telling. I can still smell of the warehouse: fresh paper and coffee.
Grandma loved playing cards. She and my Grandpa were always ready to play a game with us, but my favorite game to play with her was Yahtzee. She taught me how to play and for years we played it together. She loved Yahtzee, but she loved her crossword puzzles even more. She taught me how to work them and look for the words. There were times when we would both sit in big recliners in their cozy family room and work through our own books.
One of the best memories I have from the holidays is watching Grandma make her famous peanut brittle. She didn’t need a recipe because it just took a bit of this or cup of that. She knew how to make it by instinct. She would stand at the stove and stir until it was just right, then pour it into a pan and let it cool. She was a master at peanut brittle. Thankfully my Aunt Carla took the time to make it with her and learned the recipe by watching and then trying on her own. To this day our family meets on the first Saturday of December and bakes together. It was tradition started close to 20 years ago and I’m now teaching my own daughter.
I’m thankful I have this picture of Grandma & Grandpa playing the role of Mr. & Mrs. Claus at the YMCA. That is something they looked forward to every year.
Yes, we will miss Grandma Hale. She was one of a kind, but we would never wish her back. She’s finally at peace and whole. She’s in Heaven worshipping God and celebrating with Grandpa who has been waiting for her.
Grandma, thank you for loving us. We will see you soon.