A Truly Grand Grandmother

My daughter Katherine holds a picture of my Grandmother,
her Great – Grandmother and the person after whom she is named.

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
Romans 14:7-9

My Grandmother was born today in 1916. Or at least no-one could argue the fact with her, because she celebrated her birthday on November 5th. We did as she wished. Her birth certificate reads December 5th, plainly. But if you had known my “Gram”, you would know that there was no arguing with her and that was that. I miss that lady. I think most of the sting of her death is gone. It hurts less. She passed on from this life on June 24th 1996. She was 79 years young. When I think of her, my face is lightened and smiling. The dark clouds of grief have passed. Memories of her live on in my heart. I am thankful to God for her in the deepest way. I trust Him completely for all I do not understand. It was not so, always. It was all so quick. As years pass, one sees the bigger picture. Quite similar to flying in a plane and surveying the land from above…it all looks so different. It is part of a bigger landscape, a broader perspective, a piece of the puzzle. Yet, when a piece of a puzzle is missing, there remains a longing for the piece. The picture is incomplete. I wonder if Heaven is like a place where all the missing puzzle pieces of my heart which represent people will come back together and the picture will finally be complete. And we will all be rejoicing. Together, again. Lord, I do thank you for the Hope of Heaven. I saw her take her very last breath. I saw her leave this place. When it was done, all of the city had to hear my cries. For I have never cried so hard. I am not sure I ever will again. I think I wept for three days in my apartment with the pain of it. I confess, I did not run to the arms of my God, but I ran as far as I could to escape the pain of her death. I share this because, although I grieved deeply and wept, I rejoice greatly that God has faithfully provided me a peace that passes all understanding, in His time. He brought me through it, and closer to Him. Although I ran from Him initially, He was never far from me.

With her sister “Auntie Pep” on a trip to Hawaii.
I used to call them the little Munchkins

I think it is because of her very real, faithful love and support, that I am who I am. She was always my biggest fan. Even when I was just a big mess, and made a mess of my life. She continued to believe in me, and would tell me. Although she did not even have to tell me, because everything she did gave  evidence of her love and belief in me! She used to tell me I was beautiful and I looked “just like Sophia Loren”. Love, really is blind. I would stare at pictures of Sophia to try and see the resemblance. But she saw it. I believed that she thought I was beautiful, and that is a good gift for a young girl to receive. Further on she also made sure to let anybody of the male persuasion know that, they should be careful by saying point blank,”if you hurt my granddaughter, I will kill you. I’m an old lady, what do I care if I go to jail?” My hubby remembers this as well, although my grandmother loved him best. She left quite the impression. She even attended my Bodybuilding contests, complete with wonderfully witty comments- which were not whispered. Things that we still giggle about, like “Why are their heads the size of peas?”, or “They can lift all that weight but they can’t even pick up the trophy”.

Gram kept her hair red for a long time until finally letting it go grey.
She told me she waited so long because
she knew I loved her red hair so much and I kept saying NO GREY!
Isn’t she beautiful?

She loved me with her words. She loved with her homemade cooking. She loved with her faithful support through repeated failures and rebellions. She loved me when I behaved un-loving-ly and when I was unlovely. She loved me when it would have been easy to give up, and quit loving. She loved me when I ran away from her love. She loved me when I did not deserve it. And you know folks, that’s what love really is after all. It’s not a feeling, but a commitment sustained in all circumstances. If God is the standard for Love and He himself is love, then we have no business taking lightly which He himself takes seriously. Love is the standard. Love makes the difference. He himself is Love.
Before I knew Him I caught a glimpse of the everlasting example of Him because He gave me her. Thank you, Lord for the time I had with this beautiful lady. Thank you that you allowed her to be my Grandmother, and that you chose her to model for me that which you saw as good and loving. Thank you, Lord that You are good. 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love.

I think this is on her Confirmation.

Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:16-18

See the “Munchkins” in the middle- My Gram is wearing pink
 and her signature Red hair!
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 9-11

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “A Truly Grand Grandmother

  1. Dawn,Didn't get a chance to read this post until now.Oh my. Your grandmother was so very beautiful. I'm partial to red hair myself, but I love the way she looks with the grey hair. A wise and wonderful saint, a spiritual mother, a Titus 2 woman. Her beautiful face puts me in mind of the lovely Olivia Dukakis.I love posts like these. Thanks for making smile AND cry. Grace and peace,Pam


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