When I was growing up Grandma lived in Wyoming and so I didn't get to see her very often. My childhood memories of her are kind of vague. I remember little things like the fact that she ALWAYS had a packet of certs in her purse and would let me eat them like they were candy. I remember she loved driving around town in her Lincoln, so much so that it made me feel special riding in the car with her. I even remember the day she sat me on the grass and gave me the birds and the bees talk! When I was about ten years old I went and stayed the summer in Wyoming with her. We went camping together and even took a little trip to the ghost town of South Pass City. However, the thing that stands out most to me from that summer was waking up every morning and eating breakfast together while we watched The Price is Right. I looked forward to it everyday.
Grandma eventually moved to Utah and I was able to spend a lot more time with her. This is when our relationship started to change from just grandma/granddaughter to a friendship. In her younger years she wasn't one who really stuck to the straight and narrow, so it was a big deal the day my grandma got her first temple recommend and went through the temple. I wasn't able to be there with her that day, but I was so happy that because she had made that decision she was able to be there with me when I went through the temple for the first time. It meant so much to me to have her there.
For the last several years I have gone to visit her almost weekly. I loved just sitting and chatting with her about all the things going on in my life...she wanted to know every detail! A little over a year ago I decided that I needed to get some of Grandma's stories recorded. I would take a tape recorder with me to our visits and then ask her all kinds of questions about her life, her memories, and basically anything she would tell me. These were precious moments for me. I came to know her in a way I never could have otherwise. We really became close as she shared with me the story of her life. I also came to love people I'd never met, people who died before I was old enough to remember them. I came to love them because I could feel her love for them.
For years we have known that Grandma wasn't in very good health. We knew that we could lose her at anytime, but even knowing that didn't prepare us for the day we actually did lose her. In the back of our minds it felt as though she'd be with us forever. I look back now and cherish even more those days we had together chatting about her life and just chatting in general. They are memories I will hold dear for the rest of my life. I'm extremely grateful I listened to the prompting I had to record her stories. I didn't know what was around the bend, but someone else did.
Today as we celebrate her 87th birthday I close my eyes and picture her celebrating in heaven. I imagine she's up there playing some grand organ somewhere and dancing with Grandpa. I'm sure she misses those she's left behind here just as we are missing her, but it's comforting to know that this wonderful Mother, Grandmother, and Friend is probably a lot closer than we know showering her love upon us in ways we may never realize.
I love you Grandma, Happy Birthday.