Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Grandma Dorothy

One of the people I was most looking forward to spending time with this summer was my Grandma Dorthy. I knew that any time I had would her would be a bonus; at 93 my dear Grandma had Alzheimer's Disease, and though she was still active, she was steadily growing more and more frail. Her caregivers said that she could go at any time, or live a year or more. I was hoping for the latter, but God in his infinite wisdom, knew best for Grandma, and for all of us. Grandma Dorothy died in her sleep on Friday, May 1st. I am grateful to God for her peaceful passing and that she was able to be active to end.

Grandma Dorthy was happiest when she was "doing" and that didn't change in her last years of life--perhaps it even intensified. She loved being with people and serving them. At the nursing home, where she lived the last several months of her life, she blessed the other folks by wheeling them around (never mind that she, herself, weighed under 90 pounds!), sweeping the floors, and my mom tells me, Grandma was the "official napkin folder".

Four Generations

I'm not sure how far back this preference went, but for as long as I can remember, Grandma didn't like to have her picture taken. For years she would look away so that it was almost impossible to take her picture. Thankfully, she softened about this during the past couple of years and my friend, Val, was able to take this four generation picture at Oldest Daughter's graduation reception four years ago.

And, I am SO thankful for the tenacity of Tayta, who determined to get a couple of shots of Grandma the last time we were in Idaho, two years ago. I think they are perfect and they are just how I remember Grandma, enjoying life, and enjoying time with people.

I grew up in the west, but Grandma lived her entire life in the midwest, primarily South Bend, Indiana, where she grew up the youngest in a large French Canadian Catholic family. Though I didn't see her much during my childhood, I do have many sweet memories of being loved by her:

~I remember her thoughtfulness and generosity: though her means were very limited, she carefully saved through the year, contributing to a Christmas Club account each month so that she could send money for Christmas gifts each year. And at every birthday came a Hallmark card with a crisp twenty and five dollar bill in it--not a check, but cash. I also learned about gratefulness from Grandma as a prompt thank-you note for her gifts was expected!

~I remember her annual trips to visit us. One year she brought frog legs with her--a midwest delicacy, I gather--and  prepared them for us, sauted in white wine and butter. That is the only time I've ever eaten frog legs.

~I remember the crystal door knobs in her old house when we once went to visit at Christmas. I thought they looked like diamonds. Oh, how I wanted to live in a house with doorknobs like that!

~I remember her morning glories.

~I remember her buying San Francisco Sourdough bread to take back to Indiana with her.

~I remember the tins of cookies she sent at Christmas, the See's Candy, and the Buckeye's--we still make those, from her recipe, every Christmas.

~I remember her visit to Jordan, made when she was 80 years old. She loved the country and the people. When the merchant in the gold store offered her the traditional Arab coffee, she asked, "Is it Folgers?"

~I remember how she said the word pretty: purrdy!

~I remember her the smell of her perfume (White Shoulders and Shalimar) and her lipstick--she was a lip-kisser.

~I remember that she loved me.

Grandma moved to Idaho about five years ago, to live and be cared for by my parents.  Her short term memory was in noticeable decline, and though there were some hard times of adjustment for both her and my parents, she really did grow sweeter in her last months and years. She loved to go to church each Sunday, loved the singing, loved the sermon, and I do believe she loved Jesus.

I am diminished by Grandma's passing, but not without hope as our loving God has translated her life into a better language, his hand being in every translation. I will miss her.

Dorothy Marie Morris 1919-2012


MagistraCarminum said...

Lovely reflection, M!

Pictoria said...

Sweet and honoring memories of your sweet Grandma!

Mrs. Edwards said...

What a beautiful tribute. I love that photo of her in the hat. She looks so elegant.

Unknown said...

What a lovely woman. I am so sorry you were not able to see her again. Please tell your mom I send my condolences.


Woman of the House said...

Sweet memories. I'm sorry for your loss.