Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Grandma Taught Me That

My grandma Maxine passed away in November.

Over the years, I have gained some understanding and acceptance of the gifts that I have received from my Grandma Maxine. I felt a special connection to her since I was her only grand daughter out of nine grandchildren. The more I reflect on her life and the value she placed on the simple things, the more I come to realize how similar we are.

This weekend, my father and his siblings cleaned out her house and happened upon her journals. She kept a journal for over thirty years. The journal was not filled with emotional rants or torid events, but rather the simple and daily occurances of life on the farm. Stories of bails of hay and summer gardens peppered the pages.

Although I have not seen these journals, I can already imagine what they look and sound like because my grandmother was an exceptional letter writer. From the time I was very young, I corresponded with her through letters sent through the mail. She lived only two hours away, yet she felt that letter writing allowed for a thoughtful expression of herself. At her funeral, one of the things people said about Grandma Maxine was how she made you feel listened to and thought of through her letters. She was also an emotional woman. She did not fight back tears if they came. She recognized and reverred the preciousness in life. Keeping track and noting special events was a speciality of Grandma through not only her journal and letters, but also through her photo albums. Her photo albums were full of newspaper clippings of grandchildren and children. She organized her photos and clippings like a true scrapbooker by writing the names of people and places to remember for years and years. Again, it showed her appreciation for events, people, and effort given by those she loved.

Now, when I think about her, I come to understand our commonalities. My journal writing, and now blogging, has always given me an outlet for expression and clearification. I like nothing better to revisit my journals from high school and college and think about who I was then and where I have been. Although my letter writing has lessened since Grandma Maxine's death, I continue to write to friends and family. I email everyday to the ones that are important to me. I keep most emails, especially the ones that have something important to say or a thoughtful message of encouragement. I still write an occasional letter in the mail. I really should since that is what is left behind. I can imagine Grandma Maxine keeping every letter that I ever sent her from age six to twenty-eight.

My scrapbooks have become a place to document my life and the lives around me. I look forward to my old age when I can look back on these years and recall each special occasion like Grandma did with her photo albums.

Like Grandma, I feel that I have strength, yet can be emotional. Her arms were so strong that when she hugged you, you felt like you would never be let go. Although I save my tears for life's bigger moments, I feel, like Grandma, I revere the moments in life and recognize that they are happening everyday...the everyday, simple things. For Grandma, it was the bailing of hay. For me, it is a morning greeting to a friend or my phone calls to my parents. Each thing is special. Grandma taught me that.


Amanda said...

Sara, what a beautiful tribute to your grandma.

CCHuff said...

Amanda, I agree wholeheartedly. Very nice; you should print it and put it in your "Grandma Scrapbook."