Family, Posts

My Grandma’s Touch

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Her name was Mary Helen

She had so many other titles, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. But to me, she was just grandma. My grandma was born on August 05, 1921. She met and married my grandpa when she was 15 and he was 30. Yes, you read it right! But, you must understand that this was the way of the world back then. She was 17 when she had my mom, followed by a baby boy that died at birth. Years later, my uncle, Tommy was born. She never had a formal education, only up to the second grade. She taught herself to read and was a whiz at so many things. Oh, and she never learned to drive.

She had such a green thumb. From the beautiful flowers that surrounded their home. To the vegetable garden that prospered every year. She was a seamstress and a cook just to name a few of her talents. She had several grand-kids, and she loved us all the same, never playing favorites.

She left this earth at the age of 86, over 10 years ago. But it feels like yesterday. I can see her hands as if I’m looking at them now. The hands that made everything from scratch and then made sure you had plenty to eat! When growing up as a little girl, my younger sister and I would spend summers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The routine was typically the same a big breakfast in the morning, dinner was what we would call lunch and then supper was…..well, dinner!

But that was only the beginning of our time with our grandparents. We would play outside all day long. Stopping long enough to drink out of the water faucet before grandpa could catch us because we would always forget to turn the faucet off all of the ways! After “dinner” we would watch Speed Racer and Johnny Quest while eating grandma’s koolaide popsicles that she made in her ice trays. Grandma spent most of the early afternoon cleaning because by 4:00 pm she would watch “The Tom Jones Hour” and dance in the room when he would dance.

She would always comb our hair and I would sit proudly at her vanity as she would put my long hair up in a bun. I remember looking through the drawers of the vanity in awe at all of her jewelry. The majority of it was costume jewelry, but on her, it looked like it was worth a pretty penny. She always took pride in her appearance and always looked at her “Sunday Best”

Going to town, where we would walk about a mile to go shopping at Ben Franklin’s Dime Store, she would be all dressed up, high heels and all! I remember looking at her hands when we were walking, always with pretty nail polish and hands that were ever so soft. Once arriving at the store she would give us both a dollar to spend. It doesn’t sound like much, but growing up in the ’60s and ’70s a dollar went a long way!

When we were sick grandma would rub Vic’s Salve on our chest and then place a warm washcloth that she had warmed on the small gas heater. She always went the extra mile to take care of us. Her love, caring and comforting ways never faltered. As the years went by, she was blessed with grandchildren, and her nurturing ways continued.

Things Remembered

Grandma & Joseph, my baby boy.
December 1983

Always sharing her love and gentle touch with all of her kids, grand-kids and great grand-kids. Her unconditional love never faltered. Our family was truly blessed.

The fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. My mom’s comforting ways, generosity, and love. It is something I wish everyone could have in their lives.

Grandma & Grandpa

As the years passed, life happened and my grandpa left this world at the age of 94. My grandma had been ill and hospitalized for several days. They had been staying at my mom’s house because the hospital was close to where my mom lived. On the very night that my grandma came home from the hospital, he and my mother sat quietly in the bedroom where my grandma was sleeping. My grandpa told my mother that “his girl was home” and that he was ready to go home. My mom assured him that she would take him home to check on his house (which was a hundred miles away). However, he just continued to let her know that it was time to “go home“.

She told him, goodnight and that she loved him. She said that she checked in on them before she went to bed. He was in the recliner in their room, with the chair reclined back, sound asleep. Early the next morning, she went to go check on them, opening the door and looking in. He was lying next to my grandma with his back towards the door. She realized that something was wrong and went to check on him. He had passed away peacefully in his sleep. The ironic thing is that he always needed assistance to get out of the recliner when it was reclined all the way back, which is the position it was in when she checked in on him before she went to bed. To this day, we know that his Angels helped him to bed, to be next to “his girl” one last time. He had never been sick a day in his life.

Years later, grandma’s health began to decline where she was in and out of the hospital. She permanently moved in with my mom, but transitioned to the hospital and then a nursing home. I remember like it was yesterday getting a telephone call from my sister telling me to get to the hospital, that grandma wouldn’t last much longer. The sadness and heartache weighed heavy the room. She had all of her grand-kids, my mom and my uncle surrounding her bed. I remember standing at the foot of her bed. Letting her know how much I loved her……..that it was okay to go to grandpa. That he was waiting for her.

My heart was breaking. Holding her still ever so soft hands, that used to brush my hair, sew my dresses and comforted us all in so many ways, she was slipping away. Our tears flowed as she took her last breath. Her sweet soul left this earth on November 04, 2007. I miss her every day. I do take comfort in knowing that I can talk to her anytime and know that she hears me. I truly believe that she is one of my Guardian Angels. For that, I am truly blessed.

I love and miss you, grandma. xo

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  1. Stacey Johnson says:

    Brenda, I loved reading this about your Grandparents because they were the most special people in my life! My Grandmother taught me so many life lessons and I miss her everyday! I know I will see them again in Heaven and know she is also my Guardian Angel!

    1. Thank you Stacey! 🙂

  2. Sharon says:

    This was very sweet Brenda. We talk about Gramma all the time to the girls. Ver sad that she never got to see them. They were born only a month later…

    1. Thank you…..I miss her everyday. I had no idea we lost her so close to the delivery of the girls. 🙁

  3. Such a touching and heartwarming post, Brenda! She sounds like a wonderful mom and grandma who gave her love unconditionally to the people she loved. The love your grandparents had for each was so touching! What a wonderful Guardian Angel to have so she can look over you and be there to talk to and you know her love is with you forever.❤️❤️ Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much, Denise. She was a wonderful woman, mom, and grandma. It amazes me how much I miss her every day.

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