Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy 91st Grandma Hazel

Grandma Hazel passed away on December 20, 2013 after about a year-long battle with cancer.
Since it was so close to Christmas and the New Year, we waited until 2014 to have her services, with the visitation being on January 3rd and the funeral on January 4th.
Kellyn and I made the below picture boards to display at the services. We had so many pictures of Grandma.

I spoke at her funeral, and since I want to remember what I said, decided to include it here. 
"I had a difficult time deciding where to start with memories of Grandma - there are just so many. And this was confirmed as we were gathering pictures for the slide show - which I do want to say thank you to my Uncle Kevin for the significant hours that went into putting it together. He always does an amazing job with these types of videos, and when you all get to see it shortly you will see just how talented he is. 
When I was younger my first memories are of spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. The highlight of the sleepovers were the fact that I knew Grandma would take me shopping the next morning to either Kmart or Target and I could pick out whatever I wanted. As a kid this was a big deal. I also remember lots of vacations with Grandma, specifically Lake Tahoe, San Diego and after my grandfather passed away she took the family on 3 different cruises to Ensenada, Mexico, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada and finally to Alaska. Our Lake Tahoe trips all happened in the 80s and early 90s, and Kyle, Kellyn and I loved to take my Grandma out to the buoys. We had a little 2-3 person blow up boat, and we would all pile in and row her out. We thought it was so far and so deep, but it was probably 50 yards max. My grandma hated any large body of water - in her words she was just so scairt of the water. But she would spend hours out there with us sitting in that little boat tied to the buoy. Back in the late 80s one other great vacation memory was when Kyle and I convinced both Grandma Hazel and Grandpa Vic to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland with us. I know they both hated it, but we were laughing the entire ride. Finally a later vacation memory was a trip to NYC. My grandma was 80 at the time, and we had her in and out of the subway from our hotel in midtown down to Lower Manhattan and back to Times Square to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. She even had a hot dog on the street. It was also on this trip that my Grandma was messing with the TV and somehow managed to order an adult video. She said she immediately turned off the TV. She was definitely a trooper.
Grandma never missed any important event or milestone in my life…she was at birthdays, sporting events and graduations. It was always a confidence booster knowing she was there to cheer me on. Even last January when I ran the P.F. Changs half marathon she was there along the route…and I was able to give her a hug when I ran by.
This last year was a tough year for all of my family to see my grandma struggle with cancer. As I saw the cancer take a toll on her body, there were two things that kept coming to my mind. First is that this is not the way it is supposed to be. My pastor at church uses this phrase often and when I saw my grandma, especially towards the end, that phrase kept replaying in my mind. This was my first time watching someone lose their life to cancer, and seeing it firsthand you just know that cancer and death was not part of God's original plan. It makes you realize how much the cross was needed and how perfect God's plan of redemption actually is. The second is that I now know why Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 talks about our bodies being a tent. My grandma was always such a strong person and a picture of overall good health. At the end of her life though her body had shriveled to almost nothing. She became so fragile, just as a tent is not that stable. But as Paul writes in that same passage if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It does make me happy that my grandma is whole and healed in her heavenly home.
Before I end I just wanted to say thanks to my mom for all your hard work in caring for grandma. Even though "she says no to everything" and grandma would tell me "your mom is gonna chew me out" you know that Grandma would not have wanted anyone else taking care of her. She was able to spend her last days with the person she was most comfortable with. You have set the bar quite high when it comes to caring for your elderly parents.
Ringing in 2014 was a little bittersweet…this is the first year of my life with no grandparents as I also lost my Grandma Lois one year ago on January 5th, 2013. However, I am so thankful that God blessed me with 4 amazing people that I was able to call grandparents. Grandma, I am thankful for all the memories and 90 years just doesn't seem like enough. I am going to miss you - there was already a hole at Christmas without you here - but I do know without a doubt that someday I WILL see you again. So this is not a goodbye, but just a see you later. I love you."
This family is going to miss her.
Today, January 7th, would have been her 91st birthday. There have been so many things that have happened since she passed away that I wish she could have been here for. Although, I am sure she is wishing that we could all be with her experiencing what she is now too. Someday we will.

John 5:24 - Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 

1 comment:

mom said...

I miss her so much. It seems so long since I have talked to her. Thanks for remembering her birthday. Love you