My family recently gathered to celebrate the life of my grandmother on what would have been her 94th birthday. We didn't need a traditional funeral for her; we simply desired to have a time for her family to connect and share our common bond - our love for a remarkable woman.
My grandma was born in Kansas in the twenties and raised on the farm.
Although she didn't always live on a farm later in life,
she always had the strength and strong work ethic of a "farm girl".
In her twenties, she headed out west with her family to Oregon in their "covered wagon".
She married and started a family of her own.
One of my favorite things to do with my grandma was to talk about those "good ole days" in Oregon on her farm.
She would light up in a unique way when sharing those stories.
Lots of love and hardship were experienced then.
She suffered more tragic loss than most losing her husband and brother in the same vehicle accident when she had 3 little ones at home.
A few years later she was blessed with a husband who took on three little ones as his own.
They also had three together bringing the total to six kids to love.
My grandma was very special to all who knew her.
She was very giving.
She never thought of her own needs, but was more than willing to help out anyone in need (family, friend or stranger). She would give a ride, a meal, or her last dollar to someone in need.
She was a good listener.
She made herself available without judgment to listen to her kids and grandkids.
She was committed to her God, reading her Bible and prayer.
My grandma was also loyal to her Dodgers and Lakers, watching a ball game whenever she had the chance.
And she loved babies!
She always gave me the power to make her decorating decisions! :)
She allowed me to rearrange her furniture, hang pictures on her walls, etc even as a child. I painted furniture for her, decorated her "senior living" apartment when she downsized, made curtains, and more for her. She loved anything pink, purple or floral. She was easy to please and always grateful.
She did so much for so many. I was always honored when she allowed me to do something for her.
My last gift to her was to make her memorial party something that reflected her life and the things she loved. I thought a "Dairy" theme would be fitting because her dairy farm in Oregon was a special part of her life.
Wooden crates with babies breath centerpieces are reminiscent of wooden milk crates.
Simple flower arrangements in mason jars and milk bottles were used in various locations.
Two old screens from one of her outbuildings were wrapped with twine and used to hold treasured family photos.
Extra photos were available for all who wanted to take some home.
We laughed and cried together. Watched a slideshow filled with memories and fun music. Shared stories with a common thread about her selfless love.
She will truly be missed here on earth,
but hopefully we can all learn from the great example she was to us all.
This verse speaks loudly about the type of love my grandma had:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…"