My amazing, sweet, hilarious, adorable, independent, loving, lovely Grandma Beth passed away this week. There are so many things I loved and admired about this woman. She raised five kids alone while getting her own schooling to be a teacher, and then teaching elementary school to pay the bills. My dad told me that they used to live in houses that were condemned because the rent was so cheap, and they have all been torn down since. She had a full life with lots of grandkids, great-grand kids and great-great-grand kids. She was easy to talk to, fun to be around, and always working on a sewing or crocheting project to give away to someone having a baby. My kids adored her and loved to be with her. When Simeon was about 6 months old and only went to a select few people, he would fall asleep in her arms, perfectly content.
For many years, she lived with her second husband, Bruce (actually her brother in law- married him a while after her sister passed away) in Castle Dale, a small town in eastern Utah. He passed away several years ago and she continued living there until just a few years ago when she moved to Fredonia, Arizona to live with her only daughter, Rhea.
While she lived in Castle Dale, we would try to visit her a few times a year, helping her with little cleaning projects, washing windows, or planting flowers. She was one of the most grateful people I've ever known. This trip we drove down to do some weeding and lawn mowing, on the drive down we stopped and picked up a flat of flowers to plant for $8.00. You would have thought I spent hundreds of dollars on those flowers by the way she raved and carried on about how beautiful and how it was just "too much".
My oldest, Olivia, loved spending time with her and would often tell her knock-knock jokes and listen to Grandma tell stories about this person or that person (Olivia never knew who she was talking about). That's one thing that was kind of funny about Grandma: for as long as I can remember, she has told me stories about other people as if I know who she's talking about- I think she always figured that if she knew them, everybody else did too.
She and my husband, Petter, had a special bond. They would sit and laugh together and hang out like old friends. I love this picture of him showing her his I-pod; she looks so interested.
A few years ago, when Simeon was just a year old, she came and stayed at our house for about a week while the rest of my family (my parents) were out of town. Having Grandma all to myself was so much fun. She would offer to watch the kids while a ran quick errands and when I would come home, her knees would be all wet. I figured out that she let Simeon bite and drool on her knees the whole time- it kept him happy and close by her (I never saw him do that with anyone else- strange I know). While she was visiting with us, I felt so much love in my home, I told my husband that I would have her move in with us in a heart beat. She always praised my cooking (who doesn't love that?) and thought she'd died and gone to heaven when I made cedar-plank salmon and sweet potatoes.
Before I started homeschooling, she was able to go to one of Olivia's little programs at school, it was a big deal for Olivia to show Grandma some of her projects, and Grandma always seemed so impressed.
Thanksgiving this past year she met up with us for Thanksgiving dinner. I made her a lap blanket for Christmas and gave it to her that night as an early present. She sent me a thank-you note (hand made by her) that said: "Dear Jamie Beth, thanks for the blanket. It's stitches of love".
My niece who didn't even know her, went to her easily.
Grandma with my little sister, Holly
She was a very quotable woman and had funny sayings like: "By dee hell", and "bless your heart". One of my favorite memories was when she was visiting during the summer and she and I would sit outside in the shade knitting and crocheting while the kids played in the yard. One day, she couldn't find her teeth anywhere. I looked everywhere she had been and couldn't find them either. After a while, I said "well what are we going to do?" she just said, "I'm not going to stress, they'll turn up". Later that day when we went out to sit in the yard, she pulled out her yarn and the teeth were just hanging there like she'd put them there on purpose. We had a good laugh and she said "see, there's no need to stress! things always work out".
I feel so fortunate to have known this amazing woman. For several weeks I felt prompted to call her, and with life getting in the way and my busy schedule, I never did. I was so distraught when I found out she was in the hospital last week after having emergency surgery. I couldn't believe myself for not following that prompting to call her. Luckily, she survived the surgery and I was able to talk to her on the phone a few times and even drove down to the hospital to visit with her on Friday with Petter. I feel so blessed to have been able to see her and hug her and spend some time with her one last time. I will follow those promptings from now on.
She ended her life in a beautiful way: after watching a re-run of a Mothers Day program on t.v., she said "I'm thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. She died a few minutes later.
I am lucky enough to be named after her - I have her name as my middle name. I only hope that I can live my life with the dignity and grace she did and that I can stay close to Heavenly Father as she did, and live up to her name. She will be greatly missed, but I am sure she has had countless reunions with loved ones, and is overjoyed.