Monday, April 27, 2009

march make up 3

I've been avoiding writing this post.

A couple days after Sam's parents left, I went over to Alisa's to have lunch with Melissa who was on spring break and to catch up. It was lovely and I came home when Anna was ready for a nap. I had just put her down when I got a phone call from my mom. She told me that earlier that afternoon, my Grandma Fawnie had died. My Grandpa was with her, as usual, holding her hand when she slipped off into sleep. She had been in poor health for several years, but her heart started having trouble a few days before her death.

While I was home, we'd been to see her a few times. She told me how beautiful little Anna was, how sweet, and with such pretty hair. She reminded me that children are precious and special. We sang some songs with her, took her outside to see the bunnies, and brought her flowers. We took pictures with Grandma, my mom, Karen and I, and our daughters, Elizabeth and Anna (whose names are taken from Gradma's mom, Anna Elizabeth Holmquist Graff), four generations of mothers and daughters. On the same day, Daddy, Steve, and Grandpa gave Grandma the sacrament. I'm sure mom was inspired when she thought to do that.

In December, when Sam and I were in Ohio for Christmas, we went to Grandma's nursing home's Christmas party. She was beautifully dressed in a red sweater with her hair curled. She was a thoughtful hostess, as usual, and made sure we all had enough to drink and got the salt and pepper. She loved watching Anna play with Grandpa Holt and bang the spoon on the table. She was as lively and happy as I'd seen her in a long time.

My mom posted my grandmother's obituary on her blog, and it gives the details and accomplishments of her life, so I won't write those here. I will write my own memories of Grandma. We drove to Salt Lake to visit her and my Grandpa many times during my childhood. I loved watching the changing landscape of the country from little hills and farmlands of Ohio to the Great Plains, to the plateaus of Wyoming and then the big glorious mountains we drove through as we wound our way through the canyon. It was like Grandma and Grandpa lived in a magical land and you had to make this wonderful journey to be able to access it.

Grandma's house was magical. When we arrived, Grandpa would come out to the car to meet us and laugh and pat the car. I would feel the smooth, warm concrete on my feet as I ran across their porch, twirling around the poles that held up the awning on my way inside to see Grandma. The minute we came inside and gave hugs and kisses, she would say, "You can have anything you want," and would show us the refrigerator and all the little treats she'd made for us.

Somehow, it seemed Grandma spent all her time with me while I was there, though I'm sure the other cousins felt exactly the same way. She would show me to my room at the top of the stairs and she would make sure I got the pink rosy blanket when I came. We would watch Pollyanna together every time I came and she'd let me sit in the big leather chair. She'd bring me little sandwiches and cakes on pretty dishes and lemonade in a nice cold glass.

Her garage was a treasure trove full of toys she'd made herself. There were playsets made from cardboard and pretty flowered laminating paper and fabric and tape. There was a kitchen and a doctor's office and a little living room. Of course she had toys to go along with them and we spent hours pretending and cooking and ironing and wrapping casts and checking hearts. She had sand that we'd mix with water to create little towers and designs. She showed us how to dry flowers and decorated spoons and wreaths with them. She was so generous with everything she had and I was never scolded for using too much of anything.

When I got older and went to college, my grandparents were just 45 minutes away. They let me use their car to drive to homecoming. I spent Thanksgiving with them. Once I left the dorms, Grandma was always sending me home with tons of food and sweets. Every time I visited, they had stocked the freezer with ice cream and Grandma made dinner.

When I went to London, they were so proud of me, though it really wasn't an accomplishment. They read all my letters and sent me cards. They saved everything I ever sent to them. On my second time there, I was feeling homesick on Thanksgiving, and I decided to call them. Grandpa answered and when I said who it was, he shouted for joy into the phone. They spent the next hour asking me all sorts of questions and telling me how wonderful and incredible I was. I couldn't help but feel better because of them.

Grandma always told me I was beautiful and complimented me on my clothes and hair. She had wonderful taste and creativity. She was an artist to the core and everything she made was beautiful and interesting. She was funny and engaging. She loved to tell me stories of when she was in college, or a young wife and mother. They were usually a little embarassing, but that endeared me to her all the more because she wasn't afraid to laugh at herself.

I hope I can be a little more like my Grandma who took her greatest delight in creating games and toys and costumes for her children and then played with them and taught them and encouraged their imaginations, who loved to make her home beautiful and loved to do little things to surprise her husband, who gave away all that she had freely, and who loved the gospel and taught her children to do the same.

I miss you so much Grandma Fawnie! I love you!


Laurie said...

What a sweet post. I loved reading all of your memories. Grandmas and Grandpas are the best. I lost mine a long time ago now, but will never forget my memories with them. I love seeing my girls squeal with delight when they see their grandma.

Love that picture of your grandma, she was beautiful! Sounds like she was a wonderful mother, wife and grandma.

rusted sun said...

Thanks so much for sharing your memories. You have wonderful memories or her your grandmother. How great that she was able to meet Anna.

Ben, Amy, Isabelle & Olivia said...

Your sweet Grandma was so kind and loving the couple times I met her. I remember her being very proud of you and very entertaining to talk to at your wedding. I am glad she is at peace now and feeling much better and I am so grateful for the Gospel and that we know you will again share memories with her someday.