She was eagerly waiting on the front porch of her new home that morning. Over the last few weeks, she had moved from her home into assisted living.
We affectionately call her Granny, as do most of those who know her. She definitely fits the bill.
Everyone at her new home has been so nice. Complimenting her pretty room, now completely decorated after numerous trips back and forth to her old Victorian home. The first day we drove over to help her, she made a list for us of each precious item she wanted us to bring. One being this ornate, blue goose that she quickly explained had gold on his tail feathers and where she bought him in Huntsville before moving to Selma. You see, after just a few days she had just the place for him in her new home.
A few lamps and chair or table made the trip, as did a few of her favorite photographs.
And, after several trips of her favorite things, she seemed content to just let the rest go.
Honestly, I am not sure she ever really went through all of her things she was leaving behind in detail. I think it was more of a quick once over when she stopped by with not much more worry to it all.
I wonder, after ninety-seven long years on this earth, is that how you feel?
Really, after burying all those closest to her, does any of that stuff matter?
And, really should stuff matter to me either?
She had lived in several beautiful homes over the years. She gently reminded me during one visit that she “had kept her own house for over 74 years.”
One particular story she often told was of a saloon style swinging door at the end of the hall in a home they lived in years earlier. Her lively husband would walk up after a shower and stand with nothing but his birthday suit on to make the grandchildren howl with laughter. His knobby knees and silly smile all that showed. Occasionally he might put on his red boots to add to the fun. Her eyes twinkle every time she tells it.
Yes, her life has been full of lots of love and laughter over the years. I really think, after knowing her for almost twenty years, it’s the memories of the laughter that drowns out the sorrow of the rest of her story.
People always say no parent should have to bury their child. She buried both of hers.
And, people. Those have carried her through. Helping and serving others. Taking time to visit the ‘old people‘ in the nursing home and play the piano by ear for them. Driving herself each week (much to my husband’s chagrin) to church to fold the bulletins. Checking on the neighbor’s house next door. Making macaroni and cheese and her special recipe sweet tea and lemonade any time she knew the great-grand kids were coming.
And, I can’t forget the birthday cards we find in our mailbox, handwritten and signed somewhat shakily by her. Never late. Always on time.
Even at ninety-seven years of age, she made sure her Victorian house was neat as a pin. Each room meticulously decorated and cleaned. She can still set the most beautiful table, not forgetting to add a pretty centerpiece of flowers she arranged herself.
Sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds had quickly become one of her favorite things in these latter years. I wondered once I saw her new place, if that old porch would miss her as much as I knew she would miss it.
We quickly brought her hummingbird feeder and placed it outside her new window hoping that those quick feathered friends would find their way to her. And, by God’s grace they did.
Moving to a new place, meeting new friends and finding a new normal surely has not been easy on her, but honestly, you would never know it.
She seems so content right where she is today. I guess, truth be known, she always has seemed content.
Even in the sorrow of losing all those she loved most, she has graciously filled her days and nights with thoughts and plans of service, love and others.
Today is her ninety-seventh birthday.
On Saturday, her beautiful things were sold and carried away mostly by strangers. Even though she knew it was happening, she quietly sat in her new home without complaint.
I wondered what I would have done and how I would have felt?
Just like almost every other change in her life, she has handled this one with a graciousness that can only be attributed to a deep relationship with His grace.
One I can learn much from.
On Sunday, as we drove up, she sat waiting and ready. A pretty pale pink blouse, white as cotton hair, and a few simple, but pretty pieces of jewelry. As beautiful as ever. On the inside and out.
It was a day to celebrate. A great worship service with her church family. A hearty lunch with her new friends and grands. And, a few gifts and cards to treasure.
That was the focus of our day even though it seemed a bit like the end of an era as well, knowing our next stop was her empty home.
But rather than focus on the end, it is evident her focus has been on what lies ahead.
And, after ninety-seven years of God’s grace carrying her, I can think of nothing better.
As she blew out her candle, she smiled and said that her one wish was “that you all will come visit as often as you can.”
And, we will, Granny.
You are one of our most precious treasures.