Today my heart aches. At 87 years of age, and after a life filled with service and love, my Grandma Eva returned to our Heavenly Father to be with her parents, sweet husband, and daughter. I knew it was coming and that she was ready, but I wasn't ready.
My grandma was my hero. I aspired to be like her in every way. I created a post awhile ago about her and the book that I was working on for her. Here and here.
Whether it was cleaning my house, cooking a meal for my family, making a grocery list, or working on a sewing project, I'd find myself remembering the way she used to do it, the things she taught me, and her never ending work ethic. To me, this entire blog is a culmination of the things I have learned and I have tried to be like her.
Grandma (along with my own mother) taught me to sew, she taught me to bake, how to be a homemaker and a housewife. She was perfect (in my eyes) in each of those categories. She taught her daughters, and they, in turn, shared it with their children.
And she was loved by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, and her friends. The tributes to her on sites like Facebook have been astounding. The out pouring of love and photos is incredible.
Grandma was born in Boulder, Utah. The oldest daughter of 15 children. She worked hard helping her mother in the home and her father on the farm.
She served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Northern California which is where she met her future husband, Eugene.
They were married in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple and had 7 daughters. My mother is the second to the youngest.
(With my sister and I)
We lived just an hour away from Grandma when I was young so we spent almost every school vacation with her. Some of my fondest memories were in her home in Grass Valley, California. She'd always greet us with a smile and a huge hug. She'd buy our favorite foods before we'd get there. She'd include us in her every day activities and we loved helping her. I remember the little things like turning the key for her to start her car, getting her mail, going on a walk, starting laundry, playing games, making dinner, or stopping by our favorite store Ben Franklin. She made bread every week. If we were lucky enough to be there while she was doing it, she'd give us a little piece of dough to make our own tiny loaf.
She and grandpa were married over 50 years when he passed. She lived on her own, but then moved to Sacramento to be closer to family. There, my wonderful Aunt and Uncle took care of her for the rest of her years. She lived next door and had the independence of being on her own, but they would look after her, and in the last few years, they went above and beyond to assist her, and still give her the comfort of living in her own home.
(Grandma with my son, Dallin, 7 years ago when we flew down from Alaska for a visit)
When we found out that we were moving from Ohio to California this last year I knew it was nothing short of guidance from Heavenly Father. She was declining more and more and Sacramento wasn't a place that we thought we'd transfer to this time around, but the Coast Guard sent us there. I do not believe it was a coincidence. I also do not believe that our house being a month behind schedule was a coincidence either. We ended up staying next door to Grandma for a month before moving to temporary lodging at the Air Force Base and have seen her on a daily basis, and more recently, several times a week, for the last 3 months. My children made memories with her. They got to know her and her sweet spirit.
I was able to spend her final day on earth, next to her. Talking to her even though she was unresponsive. I hope she heard me and felt me holding her hand. I knew it was time for her to go. I hoped I would feel relieved when the time came. I received a phone call just 2 hours after I left her side saying that she had slipped away. The feeling of relief came. She lived such a FULL life. One to aspire to, but the heartache immediately followed. So much more than I thought I would feel. Even though she wasn't the same as the Grandma who I remembered years ago when she had full strength and abilities, I loved who she became in the later years as well. I enjoyed our visits and will miss her so very much.
(Grandma with my youngest, Ruby. July 2012)
Families are forever. This I know. I will think of her often while I raise my children. I'll remember her example and the things she taught me as I sew in her honor. I'll always remember how she and Grandpa would stand on the driveway and wave us off as we would head back to our house. They'd say, "Come Again!" as they'd watch us drive out of view. This isn't good-bye, and I look forward to seeing her again.
I hope everyone has been fortunate to have someone in their life who has meant as much to them as this sweet lady has meant to me.