Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my Grandma Peg’s death. She is the only grandparent with whom I had a real relationship, since my other living grandparent and step-grandparent both died when I was 13.
I only saw my grandparents a few times per year, since they lived five hours away. But when I was young, I started exchanging letters with Grandma Peg and continued up until she became very sick.
Grandma and I never talked about the past; we talked about the present day. She would talk about her crafts and baking; I would talk about school or work. She had never been on an airplane, so I delighted in sending her postcards whenever I traveled.
She never spoke of the tragedies that befell her. Her father was a miner and was involved in an accident (a rock fell on his back and crushed his spine). He died two year later, at the age of 37. Her husband would die from a tractor accident in their yard at the age of 38.
I only know about the poverty of her childhood (and adulthood) because she wrote a short book of life stories for her five grandchildren. But, as she wrote in her book, she often felt blessed by simple kindnesses from friends and strangers. Throughout her life, she had strong faith and trusted in God: “God had His own plans. It is not for us to question that,” she explained in her book.
She first learned to drive at 39; she was given her first doll (a preemie Cabbage Patch Kid) at 70.
I have many things to remember her by, which make me smile: ceramics she painted, holiday magnets she made, copper pans that hung on her kitchen wall, and some handwritten recipes. God/Universe willing, my niece will grow up to know her four grandparents. If you have living grandparents, send them a note or give them a call. Ask them to write down some stories. You’ll be glad you did.
At the end of the book are poems, songs, and quotes she liked. I leave you with this thought:
Always remember to forget
The troubles that pass your way,
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.