Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Last Picnic

I'll never forget the last converstaion I had with her.  It was a warm, fall day one of the last of the year, if I am remembering correctly.  I had packed a picnic lunch and promised to take the little ones to the park after we ran our errands.  We finished our to-do list and headed to the park, but the park was closed.

I suggested to the little ones we go visit with MaMaw.  We could even take our picnic with us and see if she felt like finding an outside table to visit with us in the sunshine.  When we arrived at the nursing home she was not in her room.  The nursing assisstant told me she was getting her bath and would be out in a few minutes.  We patiently waited and inside I was hoping she was having one of her good days.  A good day where she would recognize me and the littles and visit with us without saying things that did not make a lot of sense.

I heard the nursing assitant bringing her down the hall, explaining that she had company waiting on her.  When she rounded the corner, I could immediatley tell that this was a very good day for her.  She recognized us instantly and seemed so excited to see us.  We found a comfortable table outside and ate our picnic lunch with the sun warming our faces and the breeze blowing gently.  She felt well enough to hold my nursling while I ate and she was very content in MaMaws arms.  Each of the children talked with her briefly and hugged her before skipping off to play around the flower beds.  I turned her around so she could watch them play and sat down beside her. 

After watching the children for a few minutes, she looked at me and said, "Holli, the most important thing a man and woman can do together is have a family.  Children are precious."  The only words I could manage at this point were,  "Yes they are, you are so right."  I rubbed her arm and we talked about the weather and how she had been feeling.  I  promised another picnic as soon as the weather started to warm in the spring. But I couldn't stop thinking about her words.  They conveyed such deep meaning to me. Because her journey on earth was quickly coming to an end.  In a couple of weeks she would be ninety.  Here is someone who has been around so many years, she had seen so many things and she was sharing a part of her heart with me.  She had taken the time to reflect on life and share a bit of her wisdom with me.

In the end, and the end will come, I want to look back with no regrets.  I want to be surrounded with family that I have invested my life in.  I want to be surrounded by my God that I have given myself too.  I want to decrease so that he can increase.  I want to prasie the Lord with each breath so that when my last breath comes, I awaken in his presence praising him forevermore.

We never got to have that spring picnic because she died peacefully yesterday. On  the subsequent visits we made to the nursing home this winter she seemed very quiet.  She hugged us and loved on the littles but she didn't say very much.  I am so thankful for that picnic last fall when she shared a peace of her heart with me.  I will treasure it always.

Some things I want to remember...
that I knew my great-grandmother
that my children knew their great-great grandmother
that she lived alone and cared for herself for 88 years
she loved children...she had two of her own and mothered many others through the years
she loved to fish
she loved to read
when I was little I spent the night with her and snuggled with her in her bed and we talked and talked and talked
sitting in the swing with her...listening to her as she told stories about where we were going as we rode our train(swing);-)
listening to her stories about the picture she had hanging in her house (two little boys playing in the creek)
we put many jigsaw puzzles together on her living room coffee table
hearing her happy "hi" when she called to talk to me on the phone
picking her up as I would go to town and spending time with her as we ran errands
picking her up for the day and letting her spend it at our house playing with her great-great grandchildren
picnics at the park
she never missed a chance to go out to eat
she never missed a chance to give a gift

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

If you ever want to check up with your priorities, I encourage you to vist a nursing home and make a few friends.  Life comes into perspective quickly and most likely you will not be the same.  I know I am changed!



Melissa said...

I am so sorry for your loss and, yet, so thrilled for you at the treasure you were able to love and enjoy...i know you will never regret slowing down and taking the time to spend with her...praying for you and your sweet family...

Amy in Peru said...

This is a meaningful tribute.

I'm sorry for your loss.

What a special thing to have had her for so long so close. That is a really neat treasure!

amy in peru

The Watts Family said...

Sorry to hear of the passing of your precious Great Grandmother but what a wonderful post and tribute you wrote..... And how wonderful that you have so many memories of the time you shared ~Praying the Lord will bring you comfort and peace during this time ~Blessings Love Heather

Holli said...

Thank you all for you kind words of encouragement.

Sarah said...

Holli, I'm so sorry about your loss. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful snippet of her life and wisdom with us!
God's blessings,
Sarah :)