Thursday, March 14, 2013

In Memory

My grandmother, Catherine Bookout, passed away on November 9, 2012. Today would have been her 97th birthday. Because she has been on my heart and mind so much lately, I wanted to take a moment to honor and remember her.

Here is a picture of Grandma enjoying a glass of tea on my front porch.
My grandmother was my favorite person in the entire world, and influenced me in so many ways. She is definitely one of my personal heroes, and I miss her every single day! She was a wonderful Christian woman, and one thing she often said to me was, "I want to live my life so that if Jesus were to walk into the room, I'd be happy to see him!" (Not worried about or ashamed of something she'd said or done, she'd always explain.) She was also fond of saying, "Treat other people the way you want to be treated." When I was a child, she took me to church, loved me unconditionally, and showed me what being a Christian really means. As an adult, she listened to me, shared her memories with me, and always had an encouraging word to say--especially about the daunting task of raising boys! 

I was blessed to live only 30 minutes away from Grandma during her last few years of life. My boys and I visited her often, and they came to love her as much as I did. I went to see her twice the week she died, and really thought she was doing better, so it came as a shock to me when I found myself in the hospital’s ICU early on Friday, November 9th, knowing that she wouldn’t be with us much longer. 

I had the immeasurable gift of being with her that last day, and even though Grandma could not respond, I talked to her like I always did—about our family and all of the wonderful memories we had shared. I showed her videos of my sister’s new baby and her other great grandchildren on my iphone. I held her hand and prayed with her, and told her, again, exactly what she has always meant to me. I talked about every single person in our family, and reminded her how much we all loved her. She couldn’t speak, but earlier in the day I *know* I felt her squeeze my hand several times, and I have to believe she heard me. When she finally passed away later that evening, my parents, my aunt and uncle, my two cousins, and I were all gathered around her. It was a sacred moment, and so sad. But I knew that Grandma had finally gone home, and for days the foremost thought in my head was that she was reunited with loved ones long gone, and that she was finally at peace. 

Now that four months have gone by, I miss her SO much! I can't just go see her whenever I want to, and that has been the hardest thing for me. In a few hours, my boys and I will drive out to the cemetery where she is buried and leave flowers where generations of my father's family have been laid to rest. We will remember her and send her heartfelt "Happy Birthday" wishes, sad (I am sure) but secure in the knowledge that one day we WILL see her again. 

Happy Birthday, Grandma!  

 This is one of my favorite pictures of Grandma, with my boys Will and Ben in 2008.
Aren't they adorable?

4 comments:

  1. Dear Becky,
    I am sorry about your grandmother's death. It is indeed wonderful that you gave great honor to her in this blog post.

    I loved the picture of your grandmother and your boys.

    Celebrate your love of family,
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Joan. She was truly a special woman.

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. And how blessed you are to have shared so much of her life. I love the idea that she was listening on that last day, and squeezing your hand to let you know. It's such a hard road to lose someone who is so important in your life. Best wishes.

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  3. Thank you, Anne. It made me feel better to write about her. I just miss her so much!

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