Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebration of Grandma's Life

The weather in Wichita was not good enough to fly, so we decided to take off and drive on Friday afternoon. We made it to Fort Wayne at around 4:00 a.m. The kiddos slept and it went smoothly. Grandma's funeral was Saturday at 1:30, with the burial and luncheon following. The service was beautiful, and I know she would have felt so loved and honored. We drove back home yesterday, and we are a little weary, but thankful we made it to celebrate Grandma's life.

The following is what I wrote and shared at the funeral.

A Tribute to Grandma

Caring, Discerning and a Good Communicator. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think about my grandma. Her life was lived as a good and faithful daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Among many of the things I appreciate about her, I especially loved her ability to go deeper on any given subject. From relationships to global issues, she had almost always thought out precisely her position. Out of her honest and conscientious heart came many words of wisdom and insight. She understood others, and was good at communicating.. She was easy to talk to and relate to, never missing a beat. The past few years we talked on the phone every Sunday afternoon. I will miss those conversations, but treasure the talks we had.

Grandma loved animals more than anyone I know. She always had a soft spot in her heart for them. She had all kinds of dogs and cats in her lifetime, and if dogs and cats go to heaven, I’m sure she they have taken residency with her.

I always admired the love she had for my Grandpa, and the love he had for her. They were married 59 years, and I know that when he left this earth, it left an enormous hole in her heart. She was strong and courageous and kept living life, even though it wasn’t easy. When talking about grandpa, and how much she missed him, she would often say, “When you lose your mate, you’ve really lost something.” The power of her love, even after 12 years of living single still burned in her heart. That kind of love is special and unique.

Grandma, you have given me many gifts, which I will not forget. Thank you for raising my dad to be a Godly man. Thank you for being faithful to God, to your family, and to your friends. Thank you for being engaged and interested in others even until the very end. Thank you for your love and words of wisdom. I will do my best to honor you by passing on the gifts you have given me. I love you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3:30 a.m.

Grandma went to be with the Lord early this morning around 3:30 a.m. She went without a lot of suffering, and for that I am thankful. The Hospice staff took really great care of her to the end. I am sad, but there is a sense of relief that she is finally home. The viewing and funeral will probably be Thursday and Friday. Alex is scheduled to take a flight to California for work from Wednesday to Friday that he cannot get out of this last minute. Orginally, he was going to fly us all there. So, I am not sure what plan B is for a quick trip. It's an 800 mile drive. Please pray that the details on how the kids and I get out there will work out. Thanks.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daddy and Daughter

I was looking through some pictures from the last month and found this one of Alex and Meredith. These two look so much alike to me, and it's priceless to have a picture of them together.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm Back...Kind of

We left Fort Wayne and drove all night to get home this morning. We picked Oliver up from his cousin Owen's house in K.C. and got home around 9:00. I'm so thankful I got to make it to see my grandma. She had some very lucid moments, and still looks beautiful. Meredith was really good on the flight, and travel went smoothly. There is so much to process in my time there....saying goodbye, the meaning of life, thankfulness for hope, etc. For now I feel like I am back home physically, but not emotionally.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Going to Indiana

I am really thankful because today Alex found a great deal on a ticket for me to fly to Indiana. On Thursday, Meredith and I are flying out of Kansas City and into Indianapolis. My sister-in-law Kelli so generously offered to take care of Oliver while I am there (thanks, kelli). My dad offered to come pick us up in Indianapolis (thanks, dad). The family moved my Grandma to a Hospice home this afternoon. They are working to get her settled into her new surroundings. She is somewhat confused, but doesn't seem to be in much discomfort as of right now. My mom said the Hospice home is absolutely beautiful and peaceful. I am thankful for a place like this. Even though this is a hard journey, God is good and he will be faithful until the end. Thanks for all your prayers and kind words, and thank you, Southwest airlines for your amazing deals.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Update on Grandma

I just talked to my Grandma, for what I feel may be the last time. I have wanted so badly to be there with her but the timing and flights have not worked out thus far. Tomorrow my dad and his brother meet with the hospital social worker to determine how to make the transition to hospice. She is incredibly weak, and the tests they ran before the weekend showed the cancer had spread everywhere, including to her lungs which are now filling with fluid.

I told her that I loved her and that I was so thankful for how she had loved me and my family so well. I told her that I am proud to be so much like her, and that I am thankful that she raised my dad to know God. I told her that I was sorry I wasn't there.

How do I sum up how much she means to me in a few minutes? How do I get the words out when all I can do is cry? Please pray for her and my family as she walks through this next phase...

One more thing. My mom has been singing hymns to her and talking to her about heaven. Today, my mom said, "Mom, after you get to heaven and make the rounds seeing everyone, will you look for my mom and give her a hug for me?" To which my grandma replied, "Of course I will, I always really liked her."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh, How I Love the Sound.....

For the past two days Alex and his dad have been working to finish framing the basement. Oh, how I love the sound of construction going on! We (I say we, but Alex and many others have put in the hard work) began renovating our basement a little over a year ago. When it's finished (Alex's goal is December), we will have a TV/playroom, full bathroom, laundry room, and storage room. The framing is almost complete, then on to the electrical, which is always interesting in an old house. I'm so thankful for a husband and family members that are such hard workers, and know how to construct. And when this project is finished, rest assured, we will have an ENORMOUS party... and you're all invited.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Sweet Grandma

If you remember, please pray for my Grandma Ilene. She was admitted to the hospital last weekend because her lungs were filling up with fluid. She was diagnosed with colon cancer almost two years ago and opted out of treatment due to her age (she is 89). She is very fragile and weak, and I think the cancer is shutting her body down. I HATE being so far away from her. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I really want the chance to hold her hand and tell her good bye in person. We are very close, and Alex always jokes that I will be just like her when I am well on in my years (I take that as a compliment:) She is the last of both of our grandparents, and when she leaves this earth for heaven, there will be a big void for me. We talk every Sunday afternoon....the conversation today was hard. Thanks for praying. Here is a picture from Christmas.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Feel Like Goldilocks

I was up late last night working on Meredith's scrapbook. When I came upstairs to go to bed, this is what I found. Someone's been sleeping in my bed. I almost let him sleep the entire night with his Daddy, but my selfish side won out.