March 21, 2011

Grandma Donna

Today has been a mix of thunderstorms and sunshine. I was woken up by thunder this morning, yet this afternoon was a delight of sunshine and shorts. And eating Chipotle outside. And then, just as we were finishing dinner, lightning began to play across the sky again.

Today I am also thinking about my Grandma Donna. She passed away last week, and today would have been her 75th birthday. See, the strange thing is, of course all of this makes me sad. Of course I wish there wasn't such a thing as death, and the hollowness it leaves behind -- especially, right now, for my dad and my aunts. But Grandma Donna had been sick and declining for a very, very long time. And as we've been prepared for this for a while, and because she is probably the grandparent I know the least, it just seems strange that my immediate life wasn't completely rocked last Tuesday when I heard she had died. Especially because for some people, life was completely rocked.

These are the things that I do know and love and remember about Grandma Donna: we used to go to her house in Kentucky every Thanksgiving. And then, last year, Linnea and I got to go again, even after a decade of international Thanksgivings. She came to visit us once when we lived in England and introduced us to VeggieTales. I remember being with her when I first met my cousin Garrett. And we helped set up her apartment in Cleveland. But reading my Dad's remembrances of her, and different accounts offered in the past week by those who knew her better than I did, makes me realizes how much there was that I didn't get to see or know. This is what makes me especially sad.

But even in the midst of all this, there are blessings, such as that my Dad was able to come from Kenya for the funeral thanks to some of my parents' colleagues who paid for it! And there are also some things that are downright hilarious, like this snippet of email from my mom:  

"Earlier I heard Daddy & the aunts in the kitchen talking about eyes. I thought they 
were saying that Grandma Donna had Mamaw Dee's [her mother, my great-grandmother's] eyes. But then I realized they were saying that they'd discovered Grandma Donna 
had Mamaw Dee's glass eye. As in, Grandma Donna had it in her dresser drawer 
someplace. Now they're trying to figure out what to do with it."

(I apologize if you find that appalling...But it made me laugh out loud.)

Grandma Donna, I am thankful to have known you and spent the time with you that I did. I am thankful for the meaning you had in other people's lives, that I can see and appreciate. You were loved, and you will be missed.

P.S. My dad preached her funeral. Here is what he said.

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