Let me just share a few of the things that God did over this past week.
All six of Grandma's kids were able to be here as were all of their spouses excepting just one. Twenty-three out of her thirty grandchildren were able to come, as well as their spouses and children. Of those seven that couldn't come, some just couldn't get away for one reason or another, and some were able to get away, but just couldn't actually get here - some sick, some not able to get transportation, some having the car break down on the way to the airport Thursday morning.
Having this many of her kids and grandkids able to come was an answer to prayer! There are quite a few of us! In fact, the last time that many of us were able to all be together was for Grandma & Granddad's 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration - over 10 years ago!
It's been a long time!
Friends from our church and friends from Grandma's church sent/brought over lots of food, so even with all the family in, we didn't have to worry at all about feeding everybody.
There was room for all of the out-of-town-ers with one or another of the in-town-ers, so housing all worked out.
Here are some of the cards that were sent to our family.
Every time I walk downstairs I am greeted with the aroma of the love and care of friends and family (for Grandma, and for the ones she left behind) in the tangible form of many flowers. We re-arranged most of the floral arrangements after we got home so they would be more consolidated and so it would be more convenient to send some of them home with other family members.
Here are some of the flowers at our house.
This isn't directly related to the rest of this particular blog post, but I had mentioned in the last post that Grandma loved to stitch special blankets for her great-grandchildren as she heard of their expected arrival. I came across this picture the other day and thought I'd share it - She did this blanket about a year-and-a-half ago for a great-grandson out in California and even flew out there for the baby shower to deliver the gift to her expectant granddaughter in person!
Here's Karis using the blanket Grandma did for her.
While we're on the topic of stitching special blankets, one of the last things Grandma did while she was here with us was to stitch her love into a baby blanket for another coming great-grandchild. That's what she was doing for most of that last evening.
Grandma took her role as Grandmother very seriously and invested as much as she could into the lives of each of her grandchildren. A few things that came to mind are these blankets I've mentioned, making it a point to remember to send cards for birthdays and anniversaries, giving Christmas gifts each year (even when it had to be sent half-way across the United States), loving to talk and listen and just spend time whenever anybody was able to come and visit with her, and she loved giving and receiving hugs (She even cared enough that she wouldn't force a hug on a grandchild who didn't like it....I am among the few who can speak on that one personally - I hugged her for it!). Her greatest investment was love, and I think the funeral this past week proved that, though we didn't always express it very dramatically, her grandchildren all loved her a great deal too. Love is a great investment.
The funeral was simple: a couple of specials by two of her grandchildren; a few songs sung together; some of her husband's, sister's, children's, and grandchildren's memories shared by her pastor here, Pastor Steve Rogers; and a short message shared by her pastor from the church she had been a part of before she moved up here to live with us, Pastor Paul Thomason.
The service at the cemetery had to be very brief between the chill in the air and the fact that there were some twenty-eight other ones scheduled for that day (It was a military cemetery.): Pastor Rogers read a passage from Ecclesiastes 12, and then Pastor Paul prayed.
One of Grandma's flowers on Granddad's walker.
A few of Grandma's grandsons were the pallbearers.
Here is a short (five minute) slideshow encapsulating Grandma's life as best I could in about 150 pictures. We had this slideshow playing during the viewing.
Please continue to pray for us.