Tuesday, December 6, 2011

sunset at the cemetary.

My grandma passed away months before Duke and I were married. She was a lady that I knew, sort-of, but only with the limitations of childhood selfishness. I perceived her as predominantly strict and grouchy and overly critical.

I loved her then. I knew she was a good woman with a great love for her family. I can even hear her laugh ringing in my ears from the many times we played games together. But there is so much I don't know and never paid attention to about her.

When we moved back to Oregon after attending BYU-Idaho, we happened to move into a ward (church congregation) boundary filled with friends of hers. The people she taught and loved when she lived in the area for so many years. Upon our arrival many people pulled me into a friendly embrace and exclaimed things like, "Idabelle sure left a legacy of beautiful women" or "we're so glad to have you, especially if you're anything like your remarkable grandmother." I started realizing then that I knew near-to-nothing about her.

I've learned a little more about her from the people we've met here. She once gave a young couple raspberry starts and now that couple has offered to give us a starter from their flourishing bush. She taught arts and crafts to the sisters in the ward often. Seminary (an early-morning religion class) was held in her basement and the attendees roasted marshmallows in her fireplace.

I didn't come home for her funeral, being at the time away at school. As my heart has been turned to her I have come to regret my absence in that sorrowful time of my grandfather's life. We followed the setting sun to the cemetery the other night. I sort-of needed to prove to myself that I could remember where she lay. I walked around quite a bit and found her. My grandpa's name is engraved by hers, with his birth and a blank spot for his death year.

Shaken by the thought of that sad day in the future, I turned my mind back to grandma. Then I realized that the day he leaves doesn't have to be sad because she'll be there across the veil.

One truth I have witnessed since her death is that she is treasured by a loving husband. When she was sick with Alzheimer's for years and years he cared for her. Now he pines for her. He tells me he dreams of her "love pats," those times when she would walk by him in the kitchen and tap his bottom or put her hand on his shoulder. On their stone are the words, "Until We Meet Again."

If each life is a day, we all awake to the sunrise. We plan what we'll do. We do what we planned. And then we experience the approach of sunset. Hopefully we can enjoy the beautiful sky colors and calmly accept that the day must close.

I am thankful for a turning heart and a continuing realization that I really do believe that she and I will be good friends someday.

1 comment:

Jenny Lee Wentworth said...

Oh, I love this. I miss my grandma so much♥