Last May, we lost Ben’s grandpa.
And last week, almost eight months to the day, we lost Grandma.
It’s hard to describe this woman to those of you who haven’t met her. While I wrote about Grandpa as the larger-than-life personality he was, complete with gold teeth and John Deere suspenders, it’s a more difficult task to describe the woman behind the scenes, the one who made it all work. She was the better half of the small farmers’ town legacy better known as Ann and Dave.
This is a woman who served tirelessly her entire life, raising four sons and working alongside her husband on the farm. Starting with home-cooked breakfast for the men, on to her full-time day job, and back home at night to do chores and feed them all again, Grandma never stopped.
And it showed. Later in her life, doctors shook her heads and marveled over this incredible woman as her body wore down. Broken by a lifetime of hard work, she had not one, but every joint in her body replaced. Doctors couldn’t understand how she stood the pain, pain they insisted would bring any regular person to their knees in tears.
But Grandma just kept on.
At the end of her life, I know she was tired. And it was so hard to see–hard for a woman like me, who has been raised with a different kind of thinking; women of our generation are taught that it’s ok to have time for ourselves, to take a break now and then, to not constantly serve others.
But for Grandma, it was different.
She never complained. She lived for her family, and she knew that what she was doing was beautiful in a pure, uncomplicated way. A way that leaves us no doubt of where she is now spending her days. She always had a smile on her face–and usually, a sparkle or two of some kind of jewelry. Hey, just because the woman could bale hay with the best of them doesn’t mean she couldn’t like jewelry…
I am so grateful to the members of our family who lovingly cared for Grandma this past year, as she approached her final days. I know that Grandma was able to receive the love and care she deserved after a lifetime of serving others, and it brings me peace to know she met the end with dignity and love, surrounded by those she brought into this world.
My husband best remembers this woman as the Grandma who showed her love in a thousand different small ways, like never failing to stop what she was doing to cook him her famous egg-mcmuffin sandwich. (Did I mention her farm boys like to eat?)
As for me, I know I will always remember Grandma for her strength. Her strength as a wife, as a mother, and most importantly, as a woman.
The truth is, Grandpa thought he was in charge. But we all know–there was always really only one Boss.
And now, she’s back in charge.