one thirty-five

at about 1:35pm, EST today, my grandmother passed away.

i am very sad. it’s always difficult to lose someone you love so much. even when we do not fear death, it weighs on our souls and we feel the emptiness and the sense of loss. as emily dickinson said,

tis not that dying hurts us so–tis living–hurts us more

no matter how prepared we are to let go, letting go is still a hard undertaking.

but i confess, i am relieved. when i saw grandma on tuesday, it broke my heart. she has been in such pain, and has been through so much. i know that she was ready to go, and in spite of my grief, i am so thankful that she is done suffering.

i have been telling my siblings and my mother to write down everything they can remember about grandma; to honor her memory. i should follow my own advice, shouldn’t i? but i can’t seem to. every time i try to think of her, i struggle to remember. i don’t know why. it seems as though i have all of these memories about my grandpa and my other grandma–both of whom passed away many years ago–but no memories of this grandma. or…the things that i remember seem silly and insignificant. kristin blogged today about some of her memories, which brought a smile to my face–she had some great ones! mine aren’t as great as hers, but i want to write them down here anyway.

grandma always told joel that she was going to “box him in the ears.” i’ve never heard anyone else use that expression. come to think of it, i never heard grandma say it to anyone else, either.

i also remember that grandma always had big clip-on earrings. her ears were not pierced. and she’s the only woman i’ve ever seen wear a scarf with a brooch at the neck. she made it look classy. i always wanted to wear one, but i thought i needed to get a little older and more mature before i could pull it off.

i remember her bath towels. why? i don’t know. she had the fluffiest, softest bath towels. i reember she sent each of us a bath towel one year for christmas! i was so excited because they were her fluffy towels!  she also had the greatest hair blowdryer i have ever used. there was a comb attachment, and it worked especially well.

and i remember that she always had those chocolate marshmallow cookies in her cupboards. i loved those.

i don’t remember much else. i was just telling mom about kristin’s blog and about how sad i was that i didn’t remember the Farm. she told me it was just beyond Orchard Market on the highway, between Manistee and Ludington. she said that whenever grandma and grandpa came to visit, they would stop at Orchard Market and bring us all kinds of fresh produce. well, i remembered this. i told mom that i remember they always brought a lot of cabbage, but i didn’t specifically remember them bringing anything else. just cabbage. and peaches–i remember the peaches, too. but mom laughed when i mentioned the cabbage. she said they always brought a lot of cabbage because grandma didn’t like cabbage, so she would never make it; but grandpa loved cabbage, and knew that if he brought some, mom would make a roast with the cabbage in the pot with the roast. i never knew that!

i also remember that she’s the only person i ever knew who cut her corn off the cob before eating it.

she had no middle name.

she would crochet one of those mile-a-minute afghans for each of her grandchildren when they finished high school. mine is purple, lavender, and pink.

she also used to handquilt. growing up, in our house on ridge street, we had a pink square that she quilted with a white cat on it. mom had it hanging on the wall. i used to love that. grandma made a purple pillow for me that she quilted.

she gave me her sewing basket one of the last times i visited her. the legs are falling off and i need to repair it so i can have it for many years to come.

probably the greatest thing about my grandma was the fact that she never spelled my name right. “sarah” is not particularly a difficult name to spell, but somehow, she always managed to write “saraha” or “sarha.” and yes, for those of you reading–that is where the nickname comes from. i think she was dyslexic, to be honest with you. it would make sense.

she was a strong woman, i know that. i won’t dishonor the memory of my grandparents by sharing details that my audience doesn’t need. i will tell you that before they were saved, they went through some difficult things; when grandma and grandpa got saved, i guess there was an obvious change in their lives. and they never turned back. i never knew them before they were saved. they were always strong christians during my life.

perhaps the greatest honor to my grandparents memory i can offer is this: regardless of what was happening between my parents, regardless of where my father was, regardless of my relationship with my father, i never once doubted that my grandparents loved me. they made sure i always knew that i belonged with them and that they loved me without condition. unlike other strained relationships in our family, there was never the sense that maybe too much had happened. they always loved me.

that’s all i can remember right now.

i miss you already, grandma.

pax christi.


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2 Responses to one thirty-five

  1. sisstor says:

    I remember the cabbage!!! and I think 50 pound bags of potatoes and onions? or maybe that was later….but I do remember th eproduce from Orchard Market!

    I think grandma used to say “box you int eh ears” to steven and jeff too, but that was before jojo came along. i thin kyou might be rght though, after she took to saying it to jojo, I don’t rememebr her saying it to anyone else…..kinda like grandma schmitzer and jerry with the ‘schnigglefritz’ . I don’t remember grandma schmitzer ever calling anyone other than jerry schnigglefritz.

    and I remember the first time I even rode in a Suburban was when Grandma & Grandpa had a Suburban with the wood paneling on the sides! the best part, of course, that we were packed in like sardines and no seatbelts! oh, those were the days! i think that’s when I fell in love with the Suburban.

    oh, I hope you don’t mind that I added some memories to your blog sisstor.

    it’s funny what we remember sometimes, isn’t it.

  2. semmie says:

    i don’t mind your additions at all! i’m glad to remember. 🙂 and i think you’re right about the schnigglefritz thing!

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