Wednesday, January 18, 2012

her legacy.


 My grandmother passed away a week ago today. I wrote this two weeks ago, when my grandmother was still struggling to breathe from her room at the local Hospice House. My absence from the blog has been due to grief, to not quite being able to shake the cloud over my head, to a loss of words and, -- temporarily, I am sure -- to a lack of inspiration. I know my grandmother is celebrating in a place of beauty today, and I am reminded that the love she chose to show to others -- all kinds, all the time -- is my calling, too.

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I've written before about my grandmother and her love for pretty things.

As she lays in her hospice bed, covered in a hand-knitted purple afghan, surrounded by stuffed animals of different shapes and sizes, I am reminded of that part of her, the part of her that relishes in colors and fabrics, in things that feel good and look pretty. 

It is part of her legacy, and it has been passed on to me. 

I, too, love handmade things, love pretty clothes and the perfect shoe. I like the colors of the rainbow and different textures and fabrics. I love the lovely things just like my grandmother does. 

But my grandmother is special. Her legacy is that she does not just love the lovely things. In her wisdom and kindness, she has also chosen to love the unlovely. 

My grandmother makes bears for children who are broken and hurting and aching. She knits blankets for veterans torn apart by war. She welcomes old and young, rich and poor, married and divorced, single and waiting, black and white... She loves every single person that comes into her life, and -- this is important -- she loves them all the same. 

I know you're thinking that's impossible. But every indication my grandmother has ever given shows a woman who loves each and every person she comes in contact with. It doesn't matter your story or your past. She loves you -- all of you -- and she wants you to be a part of the family.

A couple of months ago, I sat next to my grandmother, showing her pictures of a recent trip Jordan and I had taken. As I scrolled through picture after picture, I reached photos of an event my younger cousin had participated in. I went through the pictures slowly, and when I found one  last picture of my beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed cousin, I whispered to Mama: "Isn't she just so pretty? Aren't those girls pretty?"

My grandmother looked at me, and her smile alone stopped me in my tracks. It was the biggest, happiest smile I'd seen from her in a long time.

"You're pretty," she said. "You are such a pretty, pretty girl." I looked at her, and I felt like a million bucks.  

My grandmother has this amazing way of making you feel like you are the most special person in the world, even if you're just one of her 17 grandchildren (and 20 great-grandchildren, if you're counting).

That's the legacy I want.

Yes, I want to love the lovely things. I want to have an eye for creativity and for beauty. But I have learned from my grandmother that it's the unlovely things that deserve and need my love. The unlovely people, the unlovely things?

They matter.

Everyone matters. Everyone deserves love, deserves to be shown and told love.

That's her legacy. I hope it's mine too.

14 comments:

brie. said...

i am sorry for your loss. it is so difficult to understand grief. i had been checking back waiting to see you re-appear, concerned she had passed. praying for you and your family as you begin the journey of healing.

Cindy P said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Annie. I know how difficult this time is for you. But I promise, it does get better. Just hold onto the knowledge that she is in a much better place, no longer suffering and rejoicing with her Father.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers!!

Purposely at Home said...

i'm so sorry to hear about your loss, annie. thinking of you today...

xo
purposelyathome.blogspot.com

Melissa said...

Thanks Annie...yes, she loved me too, and when she told me she'd like me to be her 9th child, she made me feel special. Little Mama, as I always called her, did have that special knack and each of your aunts, uncles, cousins, have, as your mom stated Monday, each taken on at least one of your grandmother's special traits. Love you all...

Kristin said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sweet grandmother. What a wonderful legacy that's been passed on to you! So sorry to hear about your loss. I know how deep and lonely those valleys can feel. Know that you're not alone though! Thinking of and praying for you this morning...

Cherry Tree Lane said...

A legacy is the most amazing thing a person can cultivate.
I'm thinking of you, friend.
And love you.

jenna said...

I've been praying for you, Annie.
What a beautiful woman... I know that no words help in these times of great hurt and grief. Know that I love you. And that I most certainly see your grandmother's beautiful spirit in you.

AbbieBabble said...

Oh, Annie. I'm so, so sorry. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman, and you have paid beautiful tribute to her here.

Julie said...

My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. You legacy is already evident through your ability to share so openly through your writing. You inspire others to greatness that is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother's legacy in you.

Sincerely,

Julie

monster cakes said...

This was beautiful Annie. How lucky that you knew such a wonderful person in your life. A person that changed you for the better. I never met her but I already love her. Thank you for sharing a piece of her with us, and know that you're in my thoughts. (and always in my prayers)

MichaelaRae said...

Annie, I've enjoyed learning about your grandmother from both you and Chet over the last month. She was such an incredible woman, no doubt! I've also been really encouraged by the love you both, so obviously, have for her. I've never been very close to my grandparents, and it's only been the last year or two that I've wanted to begin working to change that. Thanks for reminding me of it's importance. Family is so precious. I've been praying for you and your family and I'll continue to.

Kari said...

I'm so sorry, Annie. I have been thinking about your family.

Sabrina said...

I love you Annie! The book Tear Soup is my highest recommendation for some light but touching reading about life after loss. It's a kids book, but I think it is pretty wonderful.

Annie said...

I am so behind on reading blog posts, so I apologize for only seeing this now. Annie, my heart hurts for you and your family, knowing you've said goodbye to your grandmother, who I can tell you cherished deeply and who I am sure was just an amazing woman. she leaves you such a powerful legacy, a legacy you've passed on to us - to love the unlovely. to loves those whom the world does not. to love as Jesus loves. and I know and pray He lavishes that deep love over you as you mourn the passing of your grandmother from life temporal to life eternal and celebrate the life she had and the legacy she left.