Thursday, December 29, 2011

to the one not with me

Dear Grannie,

I just wanted you to know that I thought about you through this whole Advent/Christmas season.  Well, I actually think about you quite often, but somehow the holidays always make me a bit more wistful.  I imagine my hands interlaced with yours.  My tears are closer to spilling over.  I take more moments to snuggle into the blanket you made for me a bit more deeply.

Today, I started taking down the Christmas decorations and as I was replacing garland with picture frames, I realized that I did not have a picture of you in my living room.  It was never an intentional oversight, but one that sorely stuck out to me today as I placed my With My Grandmother Willow Tree back on the mantel.

You are missing, I thought.

Of course, you are always missing.  Although there are these intense moments in which I receive a gift from God -- a whiff of your scent, a stranger on the street that looks like you, a phrase you used to say being passed between two friends -- you are missing from my life.  And I feel this loss deeply.  Do you know how many times I still long to call you?  Even though you have been gone for over a year and a half, I only just recently took you off my speed dial.  Do you know that there are certain things that I only really told you?  Not because they were any big secret, but because I knew you would understand.  I knew you would have just the right thing to say.  I knew that even though we were separated by 1,040 miles, somehow you would be able to wrap yourself around my shaking shoulders.

That's the power of a grannie.  That was the power of you.

I just want you to know that you were memorable.  Your great granddaughters still fill their worlds with your memories.  They pour through their scrapbooks and their fingers linger on your picture.  Hannah still gets teary-eyed when Selah's song, You Raise Me Up, plays over the radio. Oh, do you know the extent that you were loved?  I hope you realize that you left a legacy.  A legacy of rich, selfless love.  A legacy that I desperately want to pass on, but I fall short.

But you taught me a thing or two about grace and so I've learned to not dwell on my shortcomings but to just press into His heart more deeply.  I wish you had more grace for yourself while you walked on this earth.  Even though you gave the world everything you had, you never quite thought it was enough.  I want you to know that it was.  It was enough.  You were enough. You taught me that I was unconditionally loved.  That is the best gift of all.

I love you.

Jen

To read more about my journey through grief, please click here.


Linking with the beautiful Emily for Imperfect Prose.

20 comments :

  1. Jen, I love your memories of your grannie. I lost my Grandmama last January, and my other Grandma is 91 and still lives at home and cares for her home, yard and does lots of cooking. I miss my Grandmama, and worry that this will be my last Christmas with my Grandma Irene. I am treasuring up memories every time we are together.

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  2. Oh, Jen I can feel your heart in this. I lost my 99 1/2 years old best friend last May and really really missed her this Christmas. Yet I too take comfort in soaking in her memory. You stated this so well. Thanks for sharing your heart and your words as it helped me to identify what I was feeling too.

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  3. Such a beautiful letter. How hard it is to miss them at times. The day after Thanksgiving I was shopping with my Mum and as I turned the corner at a store there was a lady wearing a sweatshirt that was my Memaw's favorite. With a snowman holding lights that said grandkids make the holidays bright. In that store crowded with people I cried. Grief is so hard some days. So thankful we carry the beautiful memories of our Grandmas in our heart. Love to you sweet Jen.

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  4. What sweet words. Im thinking of my own granny too since her birthday was New Year's Eve and she has been gone almost 2 yrs now. What wonderful blessings grandmothers are.

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  5. Precious! Love to you, my friend.
    Cindy :)

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  6. That was so sweet, Jenn. May God continue to bless and comfort your heart.

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  7. Christmas always reminds me of my Grandfather. It was his favourite season. As I watch my kids enjoy the holiday, I get saddened that they never met him. Thank you for sharing your grief and your grandmother with us. She did leave a legacy in the love and honour you continue to show her.

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  8. sweet Jen, I was just reading something in my journal about my grandma this morning. I hear you on this one. Those 'grannie's' just steal our hearts, speak to our hearts, I understand the missing....

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  9. I was not there when my mother passed away. I was in this country, while she was in South America. I learned so much from her, yet, I know that what I am today is due to what I saw in her.

    May Our Lord fill your heart with peace as you remember, always, the good memories...

    Maria

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  10. How beautiful, Jen, thanks for sharing your heart. These wonderful times of year are bittersweet for many, including myself, as we remember days gone by, loved ones lost. So wonderful, those memories you have - what a legacy.

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  11. What a wonderful love story of you and your Grannie. My son died just before his 16th birthday, so I understand the longing for him to be present during Christmas. Intense longing.

    So glad you were able your children were able to know and love her.

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  12. I have read this post through twice now, and am still speechless. Thank you for putting so many of our hearts into words.

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  13. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I lost my nanny a couple of years ago and I too, find holidays harder on my heart. Your words wrapped around me like a warm blanket and made me think of my nanny and the love I have for her. The love that she left with me.
    Thank you for that.
    And Happy New Year to you & yours.

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  14. I feel your pain through this post. My grandmother has been gone for six years, and I miss her dearly. Especially now that my oldest daughter is engaged. I wish she were here to celebrate.

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  15. Hi Jen,
    What a moving post. Though I lost my Gram 8 years ago, I still tear up at unexpected moments...and always when I hang her photo Christmas ornament on the tree...and put it away again.

    Praying your memories and the Lord being you great comfort.

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  16. Reading this through tears and knowing that we have this moment to be "grannies" to young generations. May we take up the legacy of those gone before and walk faithfully.

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  17. gosh what a tender write...the holidays always lead me to think of the now empty chairs...this was felt...my gramma fell and broke her leg over the holidays...she is 90 and figure we dont have any more years left with her...

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  18. I never had a "granny" like yours. She sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your sorrow and joy with all of us. It is thought-provoking to me and I hope it is healing to you!

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  19. beautiful, Jen. i haven't had a grandmother for over twenty years. and i never had one like you had. but i see the relationships my children are developing with their grandparents. . . and i know they will someday be able to write these kinds of things about their grandparents. precious, even amidst the grief. praying for comfort in the more difficult moments.
    steph

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  20. somehow you would be able to wrap yourself around my shaking shoulders.

    oh jen. this was truly beautiful. one of your best writes yet... and that photo of your grandma? I feel like i miss her too...

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