Dear Grandma

As I sit here tonight, I don’t know where to begin writing. It was a week ago that I said my last words to you. You mumbled something faint as I told you that I loved you. It was less than a day later that as I watched the sunset, you left this earth. As I looked into that sunset, I felt my heart shatter. It was the deepest loss I had experienced at that point in my life. As I closed my eyes, God gave a moment of indescribable peace. You weren’t in pain anymore. You left peacefully, as we had prayed, and were now with Grandpa again.

This week was difficult, and I cried a lot, however it was also a week of being flooded with hundreds, if not thousands, of happy memories and special moments with you. I realized even more how blessed I am to have had you in my life for almost 33 years.

One of my very first memories was you and Grandpa staying over at our house with Kathy and me when Ryan was born. I remember you making some cookies while you hummed in the kitchen. They smelled good.

I was the angel in the preschool Christmas program at Trinity. You made my costume. I still remember feeling like the prettiest girl in the world as you helped me put it on. I remember you smiling at me from the audience when I held up the star. You came to many of our school Christmas programs on those cold nights.

I loved hearing piano music when we came to your house. Uncle Joe or Aunt Judy were usually the ones playing. You came to piano recitals and it was always fun to have you there. I remember dreaming of being a performing pianist on a huge stage with lights someday. Grandpa even once said, “Who knows, Kiddo. Maybe you’ll be famous!” That sure made a 7 year old’s heart beam.

When you were in the kitchen, I remember hearing you hum or sing songs. When I was a little older, I remember saying, “Grandma, you’re humming again!” It’s a Small World, Over the Rainbow and You Are My Sunshine were just a few of what I remember.

You introduced me to what is still my all-time favorite movie, The Sound of Music. I remember it being the longest movie I had ever seen when I was a little girl, but I loved the songs, so I watched it. After seeing this movie, I started to recognize other songs you would hum or sing—”Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “So Long, Farewell,” and the most fun for me to sing “opera style”, “Climb Every Mountain.”

Several weeks ago, I sat down and played piano for a couple of hours. You and Grandpa always encouraged us to keep playing piano, no matter what. “Our forever friend” you used to call the piano. That phrase stayed with me during many ups and downs in life. I was thankful to play through songs that as a child seemed so simple and fun, and as an adult brought meaning with so much joy.

Countless holidays were spent with you from the time I was a little girl up through adulthood. I remember dancing with Kathy and Katie by your fireplace at Christmas as a small child, getting my first bad stomach ache at your house at Thanksgiving because I ate too much, Easter egg hunts in your backyard, watching fireworks with you on the 4th of July, and eating some of the best snacks at your house for New Years Eve. We got to see you for many Halloweens too, and we would trick-or-treat at your house. Whenever there was a holiday, we spent it together.

You came to my eighth-grade graduation at Trinity, and I remember you saying how proud you were of me that day. You were glad I got to play piano for it too. We had some good cake afterwards. You were there the day of my high school graduation from Burke and were there to celebrate with me after my college graduation from Concordia.

You made every one of my birthdays special. You came to my family birthday parties when I was little. You gave me fun presents, and as I got older, always sent meaningful cards. You made my 16th birthday special with a picture and flowers. You told me I was pretty and that you loved me often. You sent me letters in the mail, typed me emails just to say hi, and called me just to say hello. You always encouraged me. You made me feel like a princess, even though I never really believed you. As you got older, you’d still call me on my birthday. Even on my 32nd birthday. That meant the world to me.

When you met Zach for the first time, you seemed to like him right away. Not long after, you told me, “Christine, he is a very nice man. He seems like a good one to keep around.” You were there on my wedding day, and you stayed through most of our wedding reception. You said you loved the cake and the dancing. You told me it was like a Cinderella story and that I had a perfect dress. I was so happy you were there.I remember how pretty you looked that day in your lavender blouse.

You were so excited for our first baby to be born. You always looked out for me—occasionally calling me, making sure I was taking care of myself, and making your guesses as to having a girl or a boy. I remember the first time you held our son. I got my first glimpse of you as a mom holding a tiny baby. I had never seen such joy or gentleness until that moment. You loved him from the start, and he had so much love from you in that year and a half. He loved coming to see you, riding your scooter, and opening the presents you got him for Christmas and his birthday. He loved listening to you tell him stories and letting him play with Grandpa’s fancy watch.

A few weeks ago, you and I talked on the phone. I told you we were having another boy, and you were so excited. You said you would be happy to hold another baby again in September, and you made sure I wasn’t working too hard and that I was getting enough sleep. You always looked out for me.

I was blessed to have you in my life for so over three decades. You weren’t a distant grandma who I didn’t know very well, one who lived far away, or one who didn’t know much about me. You were there for all my special moments. You were just a phone call or a 10-20 minute drive for my whole life. You were an example of wisdom in so many areas of life—some that I’ve recognized already, and some that I will continue to see throughout my life. You’ve provided me with so many memories and experiences that I will love telling my children about throughout their lives. You’re the reason that deep down, I have always been a dreamer. You showed me the beauty and wonder in the littlest things. You made Disney movies come alive, told me that dreams can come true, and that there’s never anything too hard to do. Looking for rainbows when it rains, climbing a mountain like my grandpa, and marrying a prince were all things that could happen if I wanted them to. I was never too old for stuffed animal ducks and for laughing so hard that I would cry and then say I needed a snack. There was always a snack (and usually some comment about a webbed footed bird).

Now that you are gone, it has been easy for me to feel that a large part of me is gone forever, however the deep pain that makes me cry each day reminds me how loved you were. It reminds me of the huge impact you’ve had on my life, my family’s lives, and the people around you. Whenever I’ve had a hard time in life, you’ve been there for me. You’ve told me that the sun will come out, that it’s ok to cry, and that there’s always a new tomorrow. I will forever miss you, but I am thankful you are no longer in pain. You were a fighter through so many physical troubles, but you kept going. Losing you during this tough time in 2020 was unforeseen, but I know we will all be together someday to celebrate with you.

I love you, Grandma, and thank you for loving me. You will forever be in our hearts.




Happy Birthday!

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie

    What a beautiful tribute to your Grandma, Christine. I know she is very proud of you, and I am glad to know her through you and the impact she had on your life. I think some of God’s greatest blessings to us are our grandmas. Praying for you.

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