My grandmother passed away last night, on the eve of a crisp autumn night in Colorado. I've spent the last few days here with her, saying goodbye. This is what I shared with her.
I can’t let you leave without doing the only thing I know to do, the only gift I have to give. Words. Words to celebrate, remember and grieve. I need this for me, for the pain of losing you. And I need you to hear these words before you go.
Grandma, we’ve all felt your touch pressing into our souls. It’s the touch of nurture and knowledge, of strength and beauty.
I sit awake in the wee hours of milky nights nursing my babe, and I think, “You’ve done this seven times over.” Seven times you birthed new life, wiped bare bums, soothed scraped knees.
Your mother touch reaches down and around to the fourth generation. You’ve nurtured us all in a way all your own, with popcorn, piggy banks and peanut brittle. With tiny tea sets, cozy blankets and nickel gum balls. You’ve fed us all with your made from scratch love.
My soul breathes deep as I see these finger prints of nurture you have left on me.
There may be no plaques on your wall, nor degrees in your hand, but you have the knowledge of the very best kind. You’re a learner of life, never ceasing or stagnant. Through books, newspapers and stacks and stacks of National Geographic you’ve lapped up this world. A love of learning can never be taught. Rather it is tasted and touched through a life like your own until magically it seeps into us.
My soul breathes deep as I see these finger prints of knowledge you have left on me.
You may loathe the weakness age has forced on you. But we all know this frail shell holds the lifetime of a lioness inside. Someone tells you you can’t, you’ll show them you can. The fibers of your being are gumption and fortitude, spunk and guts.
This strength has carried you across the many miles you’ve traversed, up and moving your home, then visiting your children spanned far and wide. This strength has carried you through pain and through loss. And now it’s this strength that can finally rest. No more striving, enduring, just peace, glorious peace in the arms of Him who created you a lifetime ago.
My soul breathes deep through the pain and the loss for I see these finger prints of strength you have left on me.
Though you’ll be gone, you’ll not be forgotten. For you leave with us all a legacy of beauty, lasting and true.
We will see you. We will see you in the ruffles of the iris and in the softness of the African violets. We’ll see you in the flight of the loon and in the quiet of the mountains.
And we will remember. We’ll remember the way your lips touched your flute. We’ll remember the way your finger tip rubbed circles round your thumb print. We’ll remember the way you crafted beauty from clay, goodness from flour, song from breath, blossoms from soil.
And we will celebrate. We will celebrate the life that you lived, the woman that you are. And we will breathe deep, a long exhale, for we see these finger prints that you have left on us all. Nurture and knowledge, strength and beauty.
Go in peace, Grandma, knowing that you leave us with your touch pressed deep in our souls.