Thursday, September 19, 2013

Channeling. Or Something.

On my dad's side of the family, I am the oldest grandchild.  Until I was nearly 4 1/2, I was the only granddaughter.  To say I was loved and spoiled by my grandma would be a huge understatement.  She adored me her whole life, and I loved her, too.

Grandma was a fabulous person.  She could make a feast out of leftovers.  She was an amazing musician, playing piano by ear beginning when she was just 3 years old.  She loved Lawrence Welk.  She loved Rose Milk (which was a hand lotion advertised during the Lawrence Welk show).  She always kept Jergen's and Rose Milk at the sink in the kitchen and in the bathroom.  Anyone could use the Jergen's, but the Rose Milk was hers alone.  She smelled like roses.

Grandpa had built a little playhouse for my aunt (who is just 6 years my senior), and only the girls were allowed to play in there.  My cousin and I spent HOURS at a time in that little playhouse.  Grandma would come to the door multiple times while we were playing.  One time she's have fresh lipstick on and her purse over her arm.  She was the Avon lady, and she'd come sit on the "couch" (a bench seat from a car) and rub lotion into our hands or apply lipstick or eye shadow to our faces.  One time she'd put on her apron (truthfully, she probably already had it on) and bring us lunch to eat at the little table.  One time she'd just be Grandma, coming over to visit her "ladies."

My grandma got cancer when I was just a young girl.  It seemed like she was sick and old for a very long time.  She was only 73 when she died in 1996.  I was sad to lose my sweet grandma, but I was glad she wasn't sick and weak any more.

My grandma had her temple recommend renewed just a week or two before she died.  She was unable to attend the temple, but it was important to have her recommend.  I think of her each time I renew my recommend.

My grandma was the world's greatest penpal.  She literally had hundreds of pen friends, back in the days before email.  She was my penpal, too.  Starting when I was a little girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old), we exchanged letters.  Hers were always filled with the happenings of the day:  she hung the laundry, she had her hair done, she went visiting teaching, she played the piano at a funeral, etc., etc.  It was fun to get her letters because you felt like you had been standing right there in her kitchen for the day.  Grandma kept writing clear till she died.  The last letters and cards I received were illegible, but they meant the world to me because I knew she was thinking of me.

Grandma took a walk every day.  When I was little she'd walk around the block.  When her health started to decline, she'd walk to the corner and back.  After a while, it was to the end of the driveway and back.  At the end, she walked to the back door and back.  I admire the fact that she never stopped living until she died, even though it would have been easy to curl up in bed.  She took a walk every day.

Grandma was the tidiest woman you'll ever meet, almost to a fault.  She was also very thrifty.  Grandma's whole body shook when she laughed.  She loved her children and grandchildren.  I inherited my hairy arms through my dad from my grandma (I hated that as a kid.  Now I don't really care.).  She'd invite me to come sit on her lap till I was about 12 years old.  Grandma loved to read, and she passed that to my dad, and he (and Mom) passed it on to me.  Grandma could sing alto and tenor.

I was pregnant with Landon when Grandma died.  Our children don't really remember her, and the memories Briana has are of a scary old lady.  That makes me sad, but it's understandable.

When Grandma had been gone for 6 or 8 months, I sat down at the piano one day to play.  That day I could feel my grandma all around me, and honestly, I could miss a note if I tried.  I hadn't played that well in AGES, and I've never played that well since.  It was a beautiful and sacred moment in time to sit privately with my grandma and the music.  While there have been times when I wouldn't be surprised to learn she was there, I've never felt her presence that strongly since then.

Until the past few days.  Nothing really extraordinary is happening, but I just feel her here with me every once in a while throughout the day.  It's a lovely, loving feeling.