Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Remembrance of Grandma

In Trinidad, people often hold a memorial service one year after the death and funeral of a loved one. It is a time for friends and family to remember their loved one once more and to comfort each other at that crucial one-year mark. It will soon be a year since my last living grandparent, Ruth Goodman, passed away, and in memory of her I want to share with you the letter I sent to be shared at her funeral last year.

Anna Ruth Whitmore Goodman
April 8, 1912 – October 22, 2007

Just after I received the news of grandma’s passing, I was riding in a car with my husband’s cousin Esha whose grandmother's funeral Andrew and I assisted with last Christmas. She understood the mixed feelings of sadness at not having grandma with us anymore but gladness that she is free from pain and tears and now rejoicing with her heavenly Father and reunited with so many loved ones who have gone before her. I started to share some things about who grandma was and Esha began to understand me a little better. Just the day before Esha had commented that I have a lot of books (which is unusual in the tropics as they don’t last very long in this climate). As I shared that grandma was a librarian at one time, it suddenly made sense to both to us where some of that love for books comes from. Although she had no formal training, some of grandma’s books were even on theology. Grandma was a committed Christian her entire life and enjoyed both studying and serving Christ. She loved the bible studies at church and loved to share little tidbits from Barclay’s commentary. She was one of the faithful few in her church who counted the church offering every Monday and delivered food baskets to the elderly (even when those elderly were actually younger than her). Grandma wasn’t a big cook, but she made amazing fresh bread and sticky buns to die for. I believe man really could live on her bread alone:).

Grandma faithfully wrote to her children and grandchildren until her late 80’s when she couldn’t see or write anymore. She would write about the weather, the local news, and relatives. She often included a newspaper clipping of something she thought you might be interested in and coupons for the groceries you liked to shop for. Grandma taught us all how to be wise stewards of our money – even how to be thrifty. She lived by the motto “reduce, recycle, reuse” before they even invented it. She had lived through the depression of the 30’s and she knew how to stretch a dollar and continued to do so throughout her life. She taught us the difference between wants and needs and which things you would be wiser to spend a little more on for quality sake. While thrifty with herself, she was generous with others. She was generous with her time, her money, and her love. Grandma knew people (lots of them!) and could tell you their names, who they were related to, and interesting little facts about them 50 years after she’d met them. Grandma was never famous, but she was incredibly faithful.

Grandma was both smart and educated. Her parents had valued giving their daughters an education beyond high school in an era where that was not yet common and that value carried through to all of her children and grandchildren, many of whom hold masters degrees now. Grandma kept her mind sharp with her daily New York Times crossword puzzles until she could no longer see to do them. She loved music and the arts and flowers as well and taught us to appreciate and value them. For years I had a peony bush in my yard that had been passed down from grandma’s grandmother. What a legacy! The last two years of grandma’s life became increasingly difficult as she lost pretty much all ability to communicate with others, but she would still perk up when you sang to her and would try to tell you she loved you. We love you too grandma and we’ll miss you!

Wish I could be with everyone to honor you today; my love is with you all. Lisa


Post a Comment

<< Home