Remembering Grandma: Love gifts in retrospect

Today’s guest post is written by my lifelong best friend, MeLissa Horseman. She wrote this collection of memories and reflections after her beloved grandmother died recently. May it remind us of the deep contribution our family members make to our lives. Don’t forget to tell them you love them today.

I can sometimes be labeled as sarcastic, stoic, the strong silent type or even un-emotional. I
would say I got some of this from my grandma. I certainly didn’t get any of the dark hair, dark
eyes, or dark skin features that she and most of my family have. What I mean to say is that my
grandma was a very strong woman, although maybe not overly affectionate with hugs and “I love
yous”, but loving others in her hard-working, witty ways. She was a woman of character and
opinion, ‘not that anyone asked for it’ as she would say.

When I was in 4th grade, I got sick with mono and was briefly excused from school if I got overly tired. If my parents were busy at work or with my older sister in the hospital, Grandma was one of the people who would pick me up from school. After a couple of pick-ups, I remember Grandma asking if my parents had talked to me about trying to stay the full school day. I just
shrugged. But the next time she was called, she was there to pick me up, take me back to her house, make me peanut butter on toast, and continue her daily activities.

That’s love.

When my parents moved to Oklahoma City my senior year of high school, I remember getting stopped at the turnpike entrance with the moving truck. My parents had left earlier to complete paperwork.
I had no idea why I was getting pulled over. The trooper told me a woman called and told them
to stop the moving truck and my little Saturn, that she wanted to make sure I was able to follow
them to the new house. At the time I was embarrassed, but I know Grandma did it out of love
and concern. She also let me stay with her any time I came back to Wichita during my early
years of college, letting me come and go as I needed and reminding me I knew my way around
a kitchen if I wanted nourishment.

When my older sister passed away, Grandma understood the mix of emotions I had throughout
that grieving process. She never made me feel guilty for some of those feelings, and she didn’t
let me feel guilty too long about some feelings. Grandma knew my sister and I had a tense
relationship, and when I would visit after my sister’s passing, we would share stories to help
make sense of my jumbled emotions.

Grandma may not have showered me with physical affection (which is perfectly fine by me; I am not a touchy-feely gal), but she did shower me with her strength and sass and do what needs to be done attitude. I asked her a couple of weeks ago what was the best advice she ever got, and she said her mom told her to just be honest. So honestly, Grandma showed me love through the little things, like keeping the jar of jelly fruit slices on the counter full because dishonest me was sure she’d never know I swiped a couple every now and then.

The last few months of her life I was able to sit with her a lot. We didn’t do much talking. We’d have spurts of conversation and then she would rest. She’d constantly tell me I didn’t have to sit with her when there wasn’t much to do. I told her I knew I didn’t have to, I wanted to. How else was I supposed to catch up on the news stories and watch Judge Starr on Divorce Court? Seriously though, I enjoyed sitting with her even if there wasn’t much to say.

She had already said so much over her lifetime.

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