Recently, our grandmother passed away. She lived a long life and her legacy continues in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was our last living grandparent and it feels like the end of an era; as if the torch has been passed.
As many of us do when a loved one passes, we share stories and talk about treasured memories. Many of the stories for us revolve around snapping beans, husking corn, shelling peas, and sitting on the porch swing. There was a rhythm to it all and remembering is like a healing salve to our hearts during this time of grief. If you are lucky you end up laughing.
In our family we can’t share memories of our grandmother without thinking about our grandfather as well. While he passed away 14 years ago, he was and always will be the gregarious, patriarch of this crazy family.
Growing up, we knew him to be prickly, gruff, and colorful in his choice of words. If you asked my sisters about their memories they would share stories of being chased into the cornfield because they were about to get a smack down for misbehaving! I guess they both have a little bit of grandpa in them because they never understood when to back down. Interestingly enough, not long ago our grandmother was recalling a hilarious memory of G being chased to the rose bushes by grandpa telling her he was going to whoop her you know what when he caught her! Maybe that’s why G feels the need to always be running!
As we all grew older, he still swore like a sailor and expected things to go his way, but he also softened. I remember taking my oldest girls to visit my grandparents and how much he enjoyed their hugs, kisses and laughter. My grandma always used to say, “don’t let him pick those girls up. They are too much for him.” As if to prove her wrong, he would scoop them into a bear hug and laugh. He was definitely a softer, gentler version of the grandfather we grew up with. Not once did he chase them into a cornfield swearing!
My older girls loved sitting on the porch swing with him telling stories and giggling. He was an entertainer and a ladies man even at 90! My grandmother on the other hand was usually snuggling with them and offering them candy so they loved them both equally! I love that my girls had a close connection with my grandparents and they will always have those memories.
If we are lucky most of us carry forward memories, traditions, and legacies passed down from generations. For example, I inherited my grandmother’s middle name and my youngest inherited my grandfather’s name. Another legacy that has been passed down is the love of music. Although it could be argued that it skipped over a few of us. My older girls both have a passion for music, as did both of my grandparents. My grandmother played the organ and I can still remember those special moments when she allowed us to play with her. Our grandfather was a vocalist and at 18 he went to college to pursue music. This was pretty amazing considering it was 1938! Unfortunately, during that first year of college his father was killed in a farming accident and he was called home. It was now up to him to care for the family. He continued to pursue his passion for music through the church.
When my middle daughter left to pursue her own career in music I couldn’t help but smile and think that perhaps she will carry on the dream that was once my grandfather’s so many years ago.
So while we continue to grieve the loss of our loved ones we smile at the memories, cherish the music, and chuckle when we pass a cornfield.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G