Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I have spent the better part of the last week in the area where I grew up surrounded by my family.  Together, we buried my grandmother yesterday.  And while it's sad, it's also been a celebration of the remarkable woman she was.  I've encountered countless people and heard story after story about the way she impacted them.  A public school teacher and administrator, a committed member of her church, Bible study leader, committee member, college professor...not to mention single mother to 6, aunt, sister, friend.  And don't forget grandmother of 14 and great grandmother of 18.  I realized as I listened to people share stories about her that I really only understand her through the lens of being her granddaughter.  It's been such a gift to have that view expanded and see her in a new way.

She wasn't a warm and fuzzy lady, but she had her moments.  She was intensely practical and expected others to act in a similar fashion.  She taught us that the world isn't that big of a place and to go and see all of it that we could.  She modeled for her whole family, in countless ways, that you make the most of every situation-good or bad- and don't use it to make excuses for yourself.  She never did.  She showed us what determination and hard work look like.  She was articulate (exactly what you'd expect from an English teacher!) and always ready with some insight or encouragement or a kick in the pants- whatever she thought you needed that day.  She'd smack me in the middle of my back and tell me to stand up straight and be proud of the height God gave me.  She taught my mom, who taught me, how to care for people and make them feel welcomed and wanted in my home.  She was thrifty and loved to get a good deal (I come by it honest!).  She was fully present in conversation and comfortable with silence.

She was all of these things and so much more.  She was my last living grandparent and I feel like something has come unhinged with her passing.  I can't quite articulate it, but I don't really like how it feels.  But I know what I need to do.  And it's her voice I hear in my mind saying, "Buck up, Kate."

I will, Gram.  I will.

Meeting Haven for the first time in April 2006


Amber said...

so now i've started my morning off in tears! such a beautiful tribute to your grandmother who sounded like such a wonderful woman!!! and one who has passed on a beautiful legacy.

Marisa said...

What a beautiful post! I'm sure your grandma was so proud of you! You've been on my mind lately. Praying for you!

jenny said...

This truly is a beautiful post honoring your grandma. She obviously made a difference for many people, including you! Thanks for sharing about her. Continuing to pray for you and your family.

Traci said...

I'm sorry to hear of your grandma's passing but encouraged to hear how she influenced many lives - for the better! I love the picture of her with Haven.