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Friday, July 13, 2012

Remembering an Amazing Woman

Today marks the second anniversary of my grandmother’s death.  Known by many in her church congregation as “Grandma Love”, my grandma came by that name humbly, with a giving heart.

My life is forever blessed because of her, and many of the lessons I learned in life were from her. She always had a way of making me look outside myself and she always showed me how to put things in prospective. She is someone I strive to be…
I remember my mom telling about her childhood.  My grandfather worked at the Stockyards in Sioux City, my grandma was a stay at home mom.  Not only was she a mother to my mom and her three siblings, but my grandmother also was a mother to many foster children in the Sioux City area. My grandma had a compassion and love for children that really is beyond measure. At one time, my mom remembers having 19 children in the house.  My mom would get up early in the morning with my grandma and they would make a hot breakfast for everyone before school, because my grandma believed in sending the kids to school with a good breakfast in their belly.  Can you imagine how many dozens of eggs they went through every week? WOW. 
My grandma adopted two of her foster children and had over 150 foster children in her home (she didn’t count for a while in the beginning, so I am sure there are a lot more than that, LOL).

My grandmother also gave her time to the children of her church. She made sure that every child who came to Sunday school got a hug. And I wonder, how many of those kids who were bussed into church never were hugged except on Sundays by my grandmother… I just can’t imagine.
I have encountered adults today who knew my grandma, and the stories I hear about how she impacted their lives is rather amazing. I had a young man tell me that grandma love told him every Sunday he was smart and he could go to college and do great things… She was the only one who believed in him and told him that. I sit here and type this, I get misty because today he is my friend, he is a teacher, and without her encouragement, he may never have gone to college.

When my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was devastated.  My grandma of sharp mind, who kicked my but at super Mario EVERY time I was at her house, and who always challenged me to be better, was struck with this evil disease. After a while, we had to put her in a nursing home. I made a promise to her I would see her every week, and I kept that promise.   As her Alzheimer’s progressed, she stopped talking about current events, but she talked about the past… she was always working. In her mind she was working.  When I found out I was pregnant with Madelynn, I told her and she was happy.  When we found out a girl, I told her I named her Madelynn Faith… My grandmother’s first name is Faith and I wanted my grandma to know that she was so important to me that I named my daughter after her. And my grandma’s response, “Oh, I like that name. I like that name a lot.”  And when I left the hospital with my Maddy--- our first stop? To see grandma great (she never wanted to be called “great grandma” because it made her sound old, so her great grandkids called her grandma great, LOL).

We knew when she was getting ready to transition to heaven when she would sit there and talk nonsense… and then all of a sudden talk as clear as day about packing up her room.  Regardless of how conscious she was at the end, she would always sing with me.  I would go see her and we would sing songs from church. Her favorite:
“Our God is an awesome God --- He reins from Heaven above, with wisdom, power and love our God is an awesome God.”
She and I would sing that and “Amazing Grace” and she would sing it clear and loud. As if the disease were not even there. But then after the song was over, she would go back into her Alzheimer’s state.
Two years ago, on this day I was with her after the nurse called my mom and said it was time. My grandma’s feet were turning purple (losing oxygen) and she would make her transition soon to heaven. Instead of having my mom go alone, I went with her so we could be there for my grandma, the woman who was there for me every day of my life (and even when I was naughty). And we sang. I told my grandma that we were all going to be ok. I asked her if she could see where she was going. She nodded. And we sang… Our God is awesome God….and she passed away. It was a sad moment for me and a beautiful moment to witness in the same aspect. You could feel her spirit leave her body. I cried for myself, because I wanted to keep her here with me longer, but rejoiced for her; because she was no longer in pain… and when she went up--- she knew how much she was loved.
Today I honor Faith Orleen Beaubien.  The best grandmother in the world, and the greatest friend.  I now she watches over me every day… I wish everyone had a guardian angel like mine. Have an amazing day and count every blessing.

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