This morning when I woke up, I went through my normal morning routine of scrolling through the internet (well after I got back from an early morning run. humblebrag.), and this routine of course includes Facebook. I see what notifications I have (or lack of) and if there are any new pictures of friends’ babies to look at, and I usually see whose birthday(s) fall on that day. Today I clicked on the birthdays and had a surreal moment, when my Grandma Anne’s birthday popped up, and Facebook informed me that she is 89 today. Grandma Anne died somewhat suddenly, yet also relatively peacefully in October, of respiratory complications. Her Facebook account lives on, and since October has been relatively dormant, until today – her birthday.
Seeing her name, and her stately profile picture, culled from her church’s pictoral directory, whirled me back to some untapped grief. My Grandma was a force. An unbelievably powerful, yet gentle matriarch. Anne loved fiercely and with her whole being. She absorbed the world around her, and observed other peoples and cultures and thrived on new information. She seemed to walk taller when surrounded by her family, so very proud of the cast of characters who shared her DNA.
I hope that when I am old – and first, that I grow to be old – that I have still have, and cherish, the inquisitive spirit that Grandma Anne had. She studied her Bible, and read books, and did crosswords daily. And I’m sure she continued to learn and be changed and challenged by the familiar words, continued to be made new. (I struggle for this now, at 30, after seminary, to be made new.)
Grandma Anne taught me to sew, to cross-stitch, to appreciate Gouda cheese, to find wonder in small things, and to really enjoy some good pound cake and chocolate syrup. I share a name with her, she and I are Annes-with-an-E, and both love Anne Shirley for the same reason.
There are many things that I miss about Grandma Anne, and many things I have learned from her, absorbed from her, that I cannot enumerate; they are, quite literally, in my blood. If there’s anything that I hope I learned from her it is how to love and love well. She loved my Grandpa Frank. Almost as much as she loved Jesus. When my sister and I sat at her bedside on one of her last days, I told her that she would get to see Grandpa soon, and she’d have to tell him hello for us. Her reply: “I’m going to see Jesus first.” She loved her family deeply, and was so proud of all of us. And we have her to thank for helping shape us into the creative, funny, and curious people we are.
We miss you Grandma.