But it was Grandma that called us back...over to her house for an ice cream cone or an orange push-up. It was Grandma whose garden grew the best tomatoes, whose kitchen produced the best grape jelly. Mama's Thanksgiving table was always blessed with Grandma's homemade applesauce and delicious pies. She filled in as chauffeur when Mom worked, cheered us on at our sporting events when no one else could come - she even did a cartwheel once when my sister's volleyball team won an important game. Grandma, who could turn our faces red with an inappropriate comment or could make us giggle with her cat's meow. And her hair, she always let us brush it back. She would rest on the
It was Grandma who harassed me when I came to know Jesus and called me fanatical when I spoke of Him as friend.
It was for Grandma and her Polish roots, my Polish roots, I took polka lessons when I was a grown woman. I came back from life in Texas to dance with her around that small living room that always seemed just the right size. She laughed and told me that I was doing it all wrong...and she taught me the right way - her way, with laughter and shortness of breath, a woman well into her seventies by then.
Grandma, she held us as babies, pride and joy gleaming in her eyes. The same woman held each of my babies, a day from the womb, tears glistening and joy in her eyes.
When life was hard and Grandma needed to think, we would find her on her John Deere. She loved to be outside, mowing, raking leaves, trimming bushes, digging in the garden. She worked hard and breathed deep of the great outdoors.
My grandma, her life wasn't easy. Her husband died the day she buried her mother - her a widow at the age of thirty-three with two young girls to care for. She, with the help of her brother, took over running the business in those years before a woman in business was popular. When it failed, she went to work in a factory, then became a custodian for the local public school where she worked faithfully until retirement age. She would never remarry.
Her growing up years were never easy. She wouldn't finish school - dropped out sometime before eighth grade...but man, could she add numbers in her head quicker than a calculator. Her parents owned a strawberry farm and she worked...hard, long hours as a young child. She had eight siblings..and has buried all but one. They grew up in a small farm house, all the children sharing a room. Floors caked with dirt, either from neglect or perhaps there was no floor but dirt - I can't remember. She has spoken of the bedbugs that deprived of sleep and remembering the catching and crushing of them between fingers...how "Don't let the bedbugs bite..." was not just a silly saying, but almost a prayer.
One thing I know about my grandma: she never made excuses. She never complained about all the bad. She may have cried long when she suffered loss, but she somehow managed to get up and move on.
Last night she fell, her near century old body crumbling under the strain of years. She lay there alone for several hours before being found by my mom. She was rushed to the ER, where the doctor found her broken hip. She waits in pain for the surgeon, crying out just to go home. She just wants to be in her own bed, her own little house...the same one she has been in since before her husband died. And I cry with her, praying that God will call her, open her heart to His amazing grace and overpowering love. May God write the peace in her heart that is found only in Christ...the peace and joy that have been missing for nearly a century. In this, the twilight of her life, may she find the Light for all eternity.