Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Time

I've been holding off on updating my blog because I just wasn't ready to face what I said I'd post, but I knew I needed to do this. I knew especially after Joshua's baby dedication yesterday. A picture of Joshua and Grandma came up and totally surprised me. I completely broke down. I think I've tried to play strong this whole time, but I really miss Grandma.

I'm going to post what I said at my grandmother's funeral. I need to preface this with a few things. Aside from the 2 ministers, I was the only other person who formally spoke. Before I got up to speak, they sang the song Beautiful Isle of Somewhere and read a poem my grandma had picked out before she passed on. My resolution to not cry until after I spoke went out the window, and I lost it. When I got up to speak, I was crying so hard I couldn't really get any words out... I know it was hard for everyone there to see a family member like that, and that was soooo far from what I wanted to happen. I finally got myself under control; however, I couldn't see my notes through my tears, so for the first time in my life, I gave a speech without being able to see more than the first line of each paragraph, so this isn't exactly what I said -- God blessed me with eloquent words there that I don't think I'll recreate on this blog, but here goes:

(Through tears) Grandma would laugh at me right now because when I cry I "spurt" tears, and you can see I've already gotten them on my shirt today! I'm Joanna, Lucile's granddaughter and Kathy's daughter. My mom called me on Saturday night to tell me that Grandma had requested that I speak here when the day came. I am honored to get to share some of my special memories with you. As I share them, please take this time to remember how special my Grandma was to you.

I grew up in Georgia. In my early years, we would visit Michigan about once or twice a year. It wasn't until late elementary school that my special relationship with Grandma began. It was at that time that she started making her yearly visits to Georgia to stay for a few months at a time. You know, many of you here can probably say that you shared a bedroom with a sibling -- well, I shared mine with my Grandma! She slept on my twin bed, and I slept on a cot. When I'd have a nightmare, she's scoot over in that tiny bed to make room for me to sleep with her. I think she welcomed the extra time to be close to me.

Grandma was so patient and such a good teacher. She taught me Skip-Bo and Rummikub. She even looked the other way when I cheated -- which I did a lot! We would play for hours. She taught me how to crochet. I remember working on an afghan and making a mistake midway through. I laid it down and came back later and it was perfect again! The mistake was miraculously gone! She had taken it apart and fixed it for me. She taught me that day that quality means that sometimes you have to take time to go back and fix your mistakes before you can move on.

Grandma was so brave! She took many a car ride with me when I was learning to drive. Mom would be hanging on to the door handle in the front seat and Grandma would just be laughing like crazy in the back seat, having a grand time! She just liked to be with me and take everything as it came. This is the woman who when a dog was chasing my sister, LaRae, at the bus stop, chased the dog away with a broom while LaRae climbed into the bed of Grandpa's truck! LaRae was scared the dog would bite her, and it probably would have, but it was no match for my brave Grandma!

For years she was what I affectionately called my partner in crime. She would share my secrets and we had our own private jokes. We would go shopping together and she'd never tell anyone when I got lost coming home. That happened a lot too -- there were times we didn't know if we'd get home! She was just along for the ride, to be with me where ever life took us.

Later I had to remember all of her patience teaching me as I taught her how to use the computer. She had to have it all written down, so I would pain-stakingly write down all of the directions for her. She would call with these weird questions; she'd made her computer do this or that that no one else could make a computer do! In the end though, it was all worth it because she kept up with me through college using email. She would get online and read my blog when no one else in my family really did -- she would though, and she'd let me know when I needed to shape up! She was an amazing Christian woman and wanted nothing more for me than for me to always let my light shine. I hope I can live up to the Christian example she set for me.

Grandma taught me to be stubborn when necessary but quiet other times. When she put her mind to it, there was no changing it. You couldn't make her do something she didn't want to do. She was so strong!

"Good enough for government work" and "might as well, can't dance" were two phrases I heard her say so many times. I thought they were such weird, silly phrases, but now I find myself saying them in my classroom to my students. When they laugh and ask what they mean, I get to tell them all about my wonderful Grandma.

I could go on and on, but I won't. All of us have similar stories and memories to share, and I hope you all take time today and in the future to share them with each other. Right now I rejoice that Grandma is in Heaven, where she's wanted to be for so long -- without pain. I'm sure that she is using the voice that has been returned to her to sing praises with the saints and to talk with our Savior.

Thank you for coming.

Thankfully by the end of this, my voice had gotten stronger. God gave me the strength to do what I had planned -- pay tribute to the memory of my Grandma and to take time to get the mourners to smile and laugh about those memories. It's what Grandma would have wanted -- for us to remember and smile through our tears.


  1. I'm glad that you finally found your words, Joanna. Your love for your Grandma is heartfelt and shines brightly through your words. Thank you for sharing this, and please know that you are never alone.

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