She read this to us before we blessed the food at the wake:
On Wednesday I rode the train from Chicago to Alton and spent the trip remembering and celebrating Grandma. If you didn't know, Grandma was very fond of this trip. She'd come to Chicago several times a year and this was her way of getting there. A friend at work sent an email to let me know how sorry he was to hear about Grandma. He knew that she loved riding the train and said that I should ride the train down to honor her. I did just that.
When I think of Grandma so many special things come to mind. Here are a few:
Beauty Both Outside and In: Grandma not only looked like she could be my mom even at 80, people called her my mom. When we corrected them by saying she was my grandma their mouths hit the ground. So either I look older than I am or she looked extremely young - I think, and hope, it was the latter! Grandma always put everyone else first. She was selfless, thoughtful, caring, nurturing. The list goes on and on. If others were happy, she was happy.
Hair: Grandma was always fussing with her hair. Every time I saw her she asked me if I thought she should do something different with it. Truth be told, I never really thought it looked any different from the last time, but I played along. One of her favorite memories of me as a little girl was rolling my hair the night before church. Then she would take me and my curly locks to church and we would sit right in the front row. I guess she wanted to show of her good work.
Youth and Energy: Grandma always told me that she never wanted to slow down and if you ever saw her calendar you would know she didn't. I think she had more on her social calendar at 80 than I do now with two kids! Golf, Bowling, Choir, Ladies Aid, Bible Class, Going to see Adam and Jack's Games, Vacations, Shopping, Playing Upwords and Cards. You name it, she did it!
Love of Her Grandchilden: Grandma had such a special way with kids and babies. I recently called her the Baby Whisperer. She was the only one that could calm my screaming son, Trevor, which my husband and I were convinced had colic, and get him to fall asleep by holding him close and singing. She would have sat in the chair rocking him for hours had we let her.
My daughter, Abby, adored her. Despite having knee surgery, Grandma would get down on the floor and play with Abby for hours. She loved to read to her, often interjecting her own stories into the books that they were looking at. I'm not sure if her stories even matched the pictures but Abby didn't mind. And the goofy voices she used made Abby laugh and laugh.
Adam and Jack kept Grandma young. She always looked forward to and loved going to their activites and always told me how important it was for her to be close to them. Every time we were on the phone she talked about how big they were getting and the different things they were involved in. She had planned on bringing them up on the train to Chicago this summer so we could all be together.
And me, well I got to share 35 unforgettable years with her. She was always there to lend an ear and shoulder to lean on, to laugh with, to confide in, to share stories with and, most recently, help me out with my 2 small children. And, boy, a help she was! I knew I could always count on Grandma. We had a special bond and so many memories that will last a lifetime. She wasn't only my grandma but also my dear friend who filled my life with joy.
She was so proud of her family.
Love of the Church: As you know, Grandma was so involved with the church. She put God first in all that she did and lead by his example.
One of the last conversations I had with her was on Saturday after my son, Trevor, was baptized. She wasn't feeling up for making the trip and I know how important this day was to her. She told me she had been watching the clock for 11, which was the time of his baptism, and she cried when 11 came. I thought she was crying because she missed it, which I'm sure was part of it, but more importantly she was crying because she was so happy that Trevor had been reborn and saved.
My husband, Kevin, and I were talking after we found out and he said, "we can take peace in knowing that before Grandma went to bed on Monday night she said the Lord's Prayer and a special prayer for her family. And I'm positive she did just that.
The morning we heard about Grandma I walked into the kitchen where my daughter Abby was who's almost 2. She looked at me and said "Mommy's sad." I said yes, Mommy's sad because Great Grandma isn't here any more. She thought about that and said "Grandma's home." I said yes, Grandma's home now in heaven. She looked up, put her hand in the air and said "Hi Heaven."
Even though we weren't ready for Grandma to go, she was ready for Heaven just as soon as God wanted to call her home. Now she is at home with Grandpa.