Below is my son Robert’s letter to his Grandmother:
Grammie: In memory of a lady
The last time we were able to visit was in May. You were at home, in your own bed, watching birds and flowers outside in your little garden. You told me of the recent flowers that your children had bought for your garden. I saw almost no one else on that 30-minute visit toCambridgebut, by God’s mercy, I did see you. Aunt Cheryl also had the wisdom, perhaps the foresight, to take a photograph of us together. That photograph is now my favorite. Several hours later, as I was on my way back to Montana, I received a phone call and learned that you had been readmitted to the nursing home. I will forever treasure the memory of our visit that spring day.
I have spent the past few days wondering what to write. You were one of my biggest fans as a writer. It was you who encouraged me to continue with my first novella,Treasure Mountain. You were also the first to read the manuscript when I finished, actually you were one of the few ever to read it, and you still managed to find something good to say about what was surely the worst fiction you ever read. You also scoured every newspaper that has published my work to be sure you missed not a word of my writing. How could I do other than to say goodbye for now in writing.
I have struggled to write this letter because no amount of words will do justice to what I wish to say. Your life was too excellent to reduce to several hundred words. Several thoughts do stand out to me though, so I offer them here.
You are one of the best people I have ever known. I don’t know that I have ever heard anyone say a bad word about you. You taught me by your example what it means to live as a good person.
You and Bumpa had a promising career in music and entertaining. I remain certain that you would have gone far and been wealthy and famous. You discovered a higher calling though, and you taught me by your example what it means to forsake all for the sake of conviction and living out what you believe.
You taught me what it means to live a life of influence through service. You have loved others, served others, and had a profound influence on more people than I could ever hope to influence.
You lived a life of integrity and character in a world where these are not common. You taught me what it means to live with character and integrity as defining values.
You taught me to laugh, and to be quick with a witty response. I enjoy making people laugh. You would have been proud of the one-liner I pulled at work on Friday.
Your life also was marked by grace and poise. In trying to define this it occurred to me that you are a lady. You lived your life with such class that I just cannot think of a better term. I have known many good women in my life, each of whom have different strengths and traits. None of them are as much of a lady as you are though. You will always be the standard in my mind when I think of a lady.
You also taught me to love God and the Scriptures. I love the Scripture that reminds us we do not grieve as those who do not have hope. I do grieve your passing terribly, but I also have hope. I also love the psalm which reminds us that precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of one of His saints. I may mourn that you are no longer with me on this earth, but God rejoices that you are now with Him – which is much better.
The power of a life lived well cannot be overstated, but it can be appreciated, emulated, and celebrated. Thank you, Grammie, for living well. I love you, and I look forward to the day when we meet again and you can take your firstborn grandson for a nature walk through heaven. Until that day, I will treasure the memories we share and continue to celebrate you for there is no one like you.