Today we celebrated and remembered my Grandmom Conner in New Jersey. Here is what I shared at her funeral.
I remember jumping up on the stool at my Grandmom’s house when I was young. I knew I was about to receive something yummy. What is it about candy and treats and good food when you see your Grandmother? Her movements were slow and careful. Her house was quiet and orderly. Every single thing had its place. But you always knew you were cared for.
I remember swinging on the hammock in the trees near the marsh at her house not too far from the shore. I remember now. I had forgotten. This was one of my favorite places to quietly sway back and forth. Just like my Grandmom, peaceful and dependable.
I remember gathering as a family at the shore over the summer or at my house or my other Grandmom’s house on every holiday. Every time Grandmom Conner would be with us. Christmases, Easters, birthdays and celebrations, we were always together. More often than not, these times were full and loud. She would go with the flow of our sometimes crazy. Prep the meal beside my Mom or clean up the meal beside my Mom, always asking what she could do to help. This was the behind-the-scenes work she did without fail. Her presence was quiet but her work and love were loud and large.
Speaking of quiet, she was reserved and shy for sure, choosing to observe more often than speaking her mind. I appreciate this, the power of observing and being quiet, more now as I get older.
But if you had the chance to be at her house without a lot of people around you would hear much more. She beamed over her latest creations, whether it was her glorious flowers or a hand knit scarf. She would talk of her latest joys and activities, line dancing, card games, or her friends. She loved to work her brain, her body and her hands. She loved to create beauty. I remember her giddiness when she showed what her hard work, time and patience paid off creating. It was fun to see this side of her.
I have lived far away from my Grandmom my whole adult life. Every time we would leave New Jersey I knew she was sad. We were too, but it is different when you have a young, big, active family to take care of. Sadness is different when you are younger. You look forward to so much. You’re busier. As you get older you start looking back a little more. You grieve a little more. You slow down out of necessity and reflect more. I wish I could sit down with her and ask her questions again. I wish I could draw out of her those observations and reflections one last time. I think I am going to miss her more as time goes on.
I want to take with me what I have learned from her-hard work, quietness, and creating beauty. I hope I can be strong like her and be active and take care of myself the way she did. We’ll see, 104 is no easy goal.
Today I rest in hope. For I know I will sit with her again someday. I will see her again. I am full of thanks for Jesus who makes this possible. There are days I have wondered if this is really true, if death is really defeated and we will live forever after we die here. But our faith wouldn’t be faith of we saw every part of it with our eyes. And God has so revealed himself to me throughout my life, I do believe he is present here with us and Grandmom is with him right now. Words can’t contain the joy this truth holds.
‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ John 11:25-26