Monday Evening, one of the most amazing women I have ever met was reunited with our Heavenly Father and so many loved ones. I am so very grateful to have been able to share the last few moments of her life with her and be right there as she passed on. That experience alone helped me to feel more at peace with losing someone that has impacted my life more than most people even know.
I remember the very first time I met Grandma Helen. Aaron and I were just dating at the time and we had gone over to Grandma's for a family event. Immediate family and extended family were there as well. Everyone had brought swimming suits to go swimming, except for me. I had not been told that we would be going swimming, which wouldn't surprise you if you know my husband :) I ended up sitting by the side of the pool talking with Grandma and she got to know me a lot better. She always tells me that she knew that Aaron was going to marry me from that first meeting. She said she could tell that I was "perfect for him" from just that light conversation.
About 2 years after Aaron and I were married we hit a lot of rough patches. Aaron lost his job, we lost our home, I had a miscarriage and we had some issues with extended family forcing us to find another place to live. Grandma let us in to her home with open arms. She was so very understanding of everything going on at the time and showed her love in ways I couldn't even express with words.
I became so very close with Grandma and since then it has felt like she has been my Grandma & one of my best friends my whole life. She helped me get myself back on track emotionally in a way no one else could have done. She was always so understanding of my rough days and made me feel so good about myself without even trying. She showed my children love in a way only a Grandma could...she was the definition of a Grandma, what I had always pictured a true Grandma being.
When Greyden was born, Grandma was actually the first one at the hospital. We didn't know she was there, because my last name is still my last name from my first marriage. She couldn't remember what my last name was, so she sat in the waiting room and waited until someone came to come back with her. Leslie came right after he was born and had seen her in the waiting room and found out how long she had been there. Besides Aaron, myself & Leslie, Grandma Helen was one of the first people to meet our sweet little Greyden. That memory will never leave me.
Grandma taught me such simple things that I will never forget. We made dinner together almost every night and I knew she expected to have a vegetable with dinner. One night I made corn to go with our meal as the vegetable. She sat down and said "Where is the green? We have to have green with our dinner!" She shot right up and made a salad to go with our meal. Ha ha I learned from then on that dinner wasn't truly dinner without something GREEN on our plate.
Grandma taught me about "Salmon Loaf". A slight variation of meatloaf except it is made with canned Salmon. She insisted that we leave the bone in as she liked the crunch it had. To this day, Salmon Loaf is Lily's favorite meal...and one of mine too. :)
Vanilla Banana Pudding...we lived with Grandma through most of my pregnancy with Greyden. My morning sickness was fairly rough. During that time, I had a really hard time finding things to eat that didn't sound terrible. One night Grandma made this Vanilla Pudding and chopped up bananas to put in it. It was AMAZING!! Once a week for the next few weeks she would make that just for me because she knew how much I loved it.
Fruits & Veggies...I did the Grocery Shopping while we lived with Grandma. She would give me a list of the things she wanted/needed. At the top of the list was always "Bananas, strawberries, lettuce & tomatoes". She made sure we always had a home full of fruits and veggies at all times. She had to have a banana every morning to help "keep her regular". To this day, we keep our fridge filled with plenty of fruits & veggies. Thanks to Grandma, Brookie's favorite snack is sliced tomatoes with salt on them.
Sunday Dinner...every Sunday we knew we would be having a nice dinner with Grandma. Most times it was a roast, with mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls and a vegetable. To this day, I almost always have a nice Sunday dinner for us to come home to after church...rolls included.
Thanksgiving...without fail, EVERY Thanksgiving I have spent with the Stitt family, Grandma has shot a gun.
The sandbox...one day Grandma and I were talking about how she wanted something for the kids to do out on the patio. We both came up with the idea that we should put a sandbox out there. I measured the space and went on the hunt for a sandbox with a lid that would fit in that space. It turned out that the space was 3 inches too small for any sort of ready made sandbox...one would have to be built. We loaded up the girls in the car and Grandma & I headed over to Home Depot to pick up wood, sand, nails & a tarp for the sandbox. I spent the afternoon building it while Grandma sat out there keeping me company. I have to say, it turned out pretty dang good. The girls spent nearly every day in the sandbox.
The pool....It is actually really interesting that when we lived there we only visited the pool a few times. This past summer though, we went there with Grandma almost every Friday followed by lunch at her house. There were a few times it was just me and my kids, but most the time Katie & Clara joined us and also Ashley & her two cute girls, Nicole & Sarah. I am so very grateful we had this last summer with Grandma and that we spent so much time with her.
Being a wife...Grandma seemed to understand Aaron better than most people. She knew we were going through a rough time and there were moments where emotions were high. She always helped me to understand what being a good wife was all about. She taught me that, even when I was so frustrated with my husband, that I should serve him. At that time, I nearly rolled my eyes at the thought. It was the hardest thing I have tried to do as a wife...but I did it. It has made a world of difference in how I feel about my husband and my marriage.
Church Attendance....when we lived with Grandma she was fully aware of our lack of church attendance. We would go once a month, but that was usually it. She would always ask us if we went, but when we replied no she would never lecture us. She would just lead by example and continue to faithfully go nearly every Sunday. THAT is what increased our church attendance...her example.
I am so grateful to have had a chance to get to know Grandma on such a personal level. We had our struggles, but we came out on the other end with a relationship that I could never compare to anything else. I will miss her more than words can express. I just wish my phone would ring one more time and I could see "Grandma Helen" on my caller ID just so I could tell her how much she meant to me. Although, I know that she knew...she always seemed to know everything I was feeling long before I could recognize it.
I love you Grandma.