It wasn’t a visit to Grandma’s without hearing these words. From my earliest memories of her when she and Grandpa came to Kansas to visit and she let me push Grandpa’s wheelchair, to the precious time Jason and I spent with her about two weeks ago, my Grandma loved me.
She loved me when I was in elementary school and I painted a little ceramic fan robin’s egg blue and gave it to her. She kept it in her china cabinet as though it was rare and priceless.
She loved me as she never, ever missed a birthday. Every year I would get a card signed simply with one or more XOs and her name (along with Grandpa’s or Ed’s).
She loved us when we were back in the states between time in Ukraine. She spoiled us rotten, and we knew that she was proud of us. A visit to Grandma’s was always special.
She loved me when I visited her with my boyfriend in college. That was when she first showed me the tangled mess of my hair that she had kept one time when Mom had been brushing out my hair. Mom was just going to throw it away, but Grandma told me, “It was too beautiful to throw away!” and she tucked it away in her scrapbook.
She loved Jason as soon as she met him. She told me, “I think I’ll keep him,” and she welcomed him into her home and her heart without any reservations.
She loved us when we went and visited with her about two weeks ago. As she sat in her recliner, she told us about how blessed she was, and joked about the pain she was in. She told us how much we meant to her, and that she was so glad that her life was happy, blessed, and full of memories.
Grandma’s heart was full of love. She found the good in people. She kept her six kids. She kept her grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great-grandkids. She faithfully kept her first husband, loving him through years of being wheel-chair bound until he died and went to Heaven. She still had lots of love, and she faithfully kept her second husband until he too left her alone, and passed away.
So, Grandma, as I go to your funeral today, I just wanted to tell you, “Thanks for keeping us. Your love and unconditional acceptance made my life sweeter. Now, it’s our turn to keep you. We can’t keep you in our homes or our arms anymore, but we can keep you in our hearts. Grandma, I think I’ll keep you in my heart for the rest of my life.”