My maternal grandma was blind from glaucoma and deaf by the age of fifty. I met her a few times, but in those days we didn’t travel much, so the main thing I remember is a visit she made from her retirement home in Michigan to our home in Indiana. I was in the middle grades, and my grandma was sitting on the couch when I got home from school. I didn’t want to talk to her just then, so I started to tiptoe past her to my bedroom. I was halfway through the room when she extended her arm and said, “Who goes there?”
Imagine my surprise. I had to own up, sit beside her, and confess. I can still see her cloudy eyes, feel her warm hand on mine, and smell her talcum power. I learned that, without her sight or hearing, she could still sense my movement and feel vibration from the floor.
Such is the warmth of a memory.
Last week, continuing the purge of boxes from my past life, I happened upon a poem she wrote on her eightieth birthday. It got me right in the gut. I turned 80 a few months ago, and so I stopped all purging and lingered for a few minutes while reading her thoughts at turning 80. I share those now while also marveling at how my family has passed on her beliefs and faith tradition.
“To my Children, Grandchildren, and Great-grandchildren on my Eightieth Birthday
It will not be so long now / We do not know how soon / And I will be with Jesus / For I am going home.
What you are now, I used to be / So young and strong / What I am now you soon will be / As years are rolling on.
May the Holy Spirit guide us / To those mansions over there / Where all the redeemed will gather / To that home so bright and fair.
May we humbly bow before Him / And our journey pleasant be / Loving Jesus as our Savior / Serving Him on bended knee.
May we ever be a medium / Spreading that sweet myrrh around / Of the joy of Christian living / Where God’s glory all abounds.
Then we will be knit together / By God’s love with double strands / And those ties cannot be severed / They are made by God Himself.
Yes, those children, precious jewels / They are gifts from God above / May we care for them and cherish / Pray for them with fervent love.
Though we are miles and miles asunder / And we cannot clasp our hands / We can draw real close together / At the mercy seat of God.
Forty-five, as I am counting / Links are in that chain today / May not one of us be missing / In that great and glorious day.
So long now, my darling children / So long till we meet again / If not here on earth below / Then there, where parting is no more.
That’s the wish of Grandma dear / To my children far and near.”
My grandma’s writings serve as a legacy to our family. I am grateful for her words of faith. Words worth pondering on this Independence Day, the Fourth of July, 2022.