Grandma Shirley

Scott’s grandmother died on Monday of this week. She was a glorious 91 years old.

Scott has been putting together a video for her funeral on Friday. It has been so enjoyable to look through the many pictures family members have been sending him over the past few weeks. It has been a treat seeing Grandma Shirley, as well as Kansas City, over this past decade.

Monday evening we went over to her assisted living room to help move things out. Scott’s mom, Joanne, called us in the afternoon and asked if there was anything we wanted. My mind immediately went to two things:

20120711-191538.jpg

Grandma Shirley was an avid crossword puzzle fan. (I mentioned 91 YEARS OLD, right?!) Her mind has been amazingly sharp as she aged. I wanted one of her crossword books, with her handwriting.

Each time we visited her I couldn’t help but notice her “bedazzled” emory board on the table next to her chair. It always made me smile and think, “When I’m in my 90’s, I hope I still have a fondness for shiny (gawdy!) things!!”

On Monday night we came home with a few other little things that were a part of her lovely life. Ceramic boxes to hold whatever treasures one might need. Mirrors. Her copy of ‘Purpose Driven Life’…(one doesn’t live to 91 without a purpose-filled life.) The crucifix she kept in her bedroom.

Relatively small things that make me smile when I see them. Things that won’t be boxed up, but will become a part of our life now.

I also wanted this:

20120711-191838.jpg

One time Scott and I gave her a cd of music that we thought she would enjoy. She told us she particularly liked the piano music and wondered if we could make her a copy of some more of it. Scott’s dad, Larry, had some piano music cds, so he burned her a copy of them onto one large disk.

But guess who got the credit for it all?
Guess who she thanked – each.and.every.time we were together?

Me.

She credited me for that compilation gesture for over a year. In fact, the last time we saw her (last month), she called me into her room to thank me again for that beautiful music cd.

It became a family joke.

I always smiled and reassured her I was glad she liked it.

Graciousness.
A beautiful quality. One I readily recognized from my own mother.

During a visit Scott and I had with her last year she commented that, “all my children are involved in church. They’re not all Catholic, but that’s okay! They’re all Christians.

This, from a staunchly Catholic 91-year-old. As with so many things in life, we begin to sift the important from the unimportant. A relationship with Christ was of greater concern to her than what denomination her six children were affiliated with. What a wonderful gift for any mother to rest into.

Be thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart…

She requested her funeral NOT be in a Catholic church. If there was communion, she wanted everyone to have the chance to participate. She wanted her son, a pastor in Florida, to be able to officiate.

She wanted her family and friends to be on equal footing. Faith, trumping doctrine.

Be thou my Wisdom…

In the busyness as we prepare for out-of-town family members to arrive and dinners to be made and plans to be cemented, I have found myself listening to this song on repeat many times.

True, it is my favorite artist. But the words seem so appropriate for Grandma Shirley. Her last weeks were difficult, physically. She told me she wasn’t sure she should be, but she was praying to be taken Home. I squeezed her hand tightly and told her it was fine. To get there before us and make sure everything was ready; we’d be along soon enough.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Maybe they won’t want me to stay,” she quipped with a weak laugh.
They might find out you’re more trouble than you’re worth!,” I laughed back with her.

The last conversation I had with her just a few weeks ago. A quick wit to the very end.

Grandma Shirley, your victory has been won.
I am so very thankful that you are basking in the bright Heaven’s sun. Pain-free and laughing with the saints.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

It was a gift to know her. She strongly welcomed me into the family. She was my advocate. My friend.

…Thou in my dwelling, and I with Thee one.

———-

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Grandma Shirley

  1. I’ve missed reading your blog, and writing mine. This post reminds me of how much I’ve always enjoyed reading your thoughts. Reminds me a bit of my grandmother who was spunky until she died at 92 just a couple of years ago, and I love the way you have interwoven my favorite hymn text into your memories. Very, very cool. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s