The last three years have been full of changes for our family. There are the obvious changes like Isaiah being born and moving to Russia. Then there are changes in our extended family: weddings, births, moves, new jobs, fun trips...the list goes on and on. We've made some pretty grand memories over the past 3 years. In God's providence one member of our family wasn't a part of making all these memories.
Mary Harvel Mitchell my maternal grandmother went home to be with her Lord 3 years ago today. She had endured a great deal of physical pain the last years of her life, and while she longed to be relieved of her pain, she always faithfully praised God and reminded the rest of us in the family to do the same, in her own tactful way.
When Isaiah was born, I confess I struggled with some strong feelings knowing that he wouldn't get to know my grandma the way that I wanted him to be able to know her. She had been constantly telling me that I needed to have a baby, in fact one of the very last things that she said to me was, "you go on and have that baby now". God has helped me work through some of the yucky feelings I had about a "lost future" with my grandma and my son. I do wish that I had
the opportunity to make memories with them together, but I'm so thankful for the memories that I have with Grandma. She is one-of-a-kind! To explain her in one short blog is impossible, so I scanned in some pictures that I have of her to try to help me.
Mama and I loved to love on Grandma! Grandma was a very loving person. Sometimes she might have seemed rough or tough in her love, she could scold with the best of them, but we all knew that she loved us and would do anything for us.
This was taken my Senior year of high school. Growing up I spent a large portion of every summer on my grandparents' farm in southern Illinois. I learned to work hard by helping them "pick" potatoes or strawberries or pull weeds. Grandma worked really hard all her life, but she also knew how to take time out and play with me (or anyone else who wanted to)! During my senior year she and Grandpa lived with us while they were looking for a house. Many evenings she would play cards with me or color with me or do any number of silly things that I remember very well!
Grandma was a fantastic cook! When they lived near us in NC she would help my mom with the Christmas candy making and baking. Nobody could roll a peanut butter ball like my grandma! I have tons of memories of her cooking and baking. She could make a coconut pie that was out of this world, though she didn't make them often enough according to Grandpa and Daddy. Now whenever I'm making a pie, I always think about Grandma, and I hope that it will be on her "average" as Grandpa always said.
Grandma was just about as thrilled as anyone about me getting married. I don't know if she thought it would never happen, or what, but she was pretty excited about the whole thing. Here we are at one of my wedding showers, where she gave me the quilt that she and my mom had made for us--a beautiful double-wedding-ring quilt!
Grandma and Grandpa had over 50 years together. They started out with an apartment and a coffee pot, which is still in their home now (the coffee pot, that is). I love hearing stories about how they started. One thing's for sure, they were a perfect match, Grandma's fiestiness, and Grandpa's steady determination made for some good stories.
And this is the way that I often remember Grandma. Every day she read her Bible. She read through the Bible more times than I can remember. I would often walk into their house and see her curled up in her chair reading her Bible. When she was done she'd pray. Then she'd either pester Grandpa about something, go cook something, watch one of her favorite shows or an old movie or go in the other room and work on one of her beautiful quilts. But always, she would read her Bible.
I miss her, but I know that she's exactly where she longed to be for so many years, with her eyes on Jesus and singing His praises! I thank God for all the years and memories that He gave me with Grandma!