Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To My Beautiful Grandma

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” -- Anne Lamott

My precious grandma met her greatest Valentine--Jesus--on Valentine's Day, and I miss her so. Grief is interesting; one moment I truly feel happy and can smile as I remember her...and then the very next, I'm sobbing. She was so special to me my whole life. I always knew it would break my heart to lose her, and I could not have been more right. I have joy and peace because she is with the Lord. But, I need to be honest and say that it still hurts. A lot.

I wanted to share the letter I wrote to her that my aunt Katherine read at the funeral. Katherine did an incredible job reading it, and I was so grateful to her for doing that.

To My Beautiful Grandma,

Today is your day, and we honor you and the beautiful life you lived. Collecting my precious memories of you brings me such joy and thankfulness. I know full well the rare jewel I hold in calling you “Grandma.”

You were my teacher, my play mate, my friend, my encourager, my comforter, my confidante, even my conscience at times! I remember as a little girl clogging for you, singing with you, painting pictures for you, jotting down little stories for you, playing the piano with you. Watching “I Love Lucy” and making chocolate milkshakes. Sneaking one more piece of candy. What I wouldn't give to have you wink at me just once more.

I adored your rocking chair, and I'm pretty sure you adored my feet hanging off the edge! I loved lying on the bathroom counter so you could wash my hair. One of the best treats was to ride in the front seat with you to the beauty shop where I'd clog for the ladies, and if I was really good, sometimes you'd even have them paint my nails. Whatever you did, you'd include me.

Before we'd go “to town,” you'd say, “First, I gotta put on my face!” I'd breathlessly watch as your graceful fingers would smear rouge on each cheek, then your lips. And then you'd press them over a tissue—and we'd be ready to go! You were always so proud to have me with you, Grandma, and if I never said so: I was so proud to be with you. I loved being your “Punkin'.”

Afternoons at your house meant snuggling on your big bed as you sang to me: “This is the Day That the Lord Hath Made.” You'd pat my legs, tell me to hush my fidgeting and “Be still.” Once I finally did, I'd awaken from sleep I was sure I didn't need. And you were gone. The empty bed was too much for me, so I'd climb down and trek down the hall, desperate to find you. I always found you in the kitchen working on that evening's dinner. And my world would be right again.

You were my own personal seamstress. One of my favorite things was to tiptoe down the long hallway toward the steady chugging of your Singer. No one could make that machine sing quite like you could. Your notes and lyrics birthed ruffles and bows, party pants and jumpers, skirts and tops. I hope I told you enough that they sure were “purdy!” I loved being your delight and receiving the fruit of your sometimes arduous labor. The day that I inherited this treasure of a sewing machine was a day that will forever quicken my heart. To touch the same wheel, to thread the same needles, to create as you created—what a lucky girl I am!

To have had you in my life for 27 years is a gift that I will forever cherish. Now I get to hold you in my heart forever. I will always smile when you come to my mind, and it doesn't take much. A song, a verse, a phrase, a place, a food. You cooked me carrots, you kept Milky Way candy bars on hand just in case I came by, you said there was always room for a little ice cream, and you reminded me often that “This too shall pass.”

Thank you for this heart running over with memories of your beautiful smile. Thank you for being so much more than I could have ever dreamed a grandmother could be. I'll carry you close and even though my eyes may spill tears because you aren't here, my heart will spill joy because you are where you were always meant to be. You finished well, Grandma.

I love you.
Love, Cara Dawn

Peace of Christ to you,


  1. I am so glad that I get to be a part of your life, even through these tough times. I am glad that I had a chance to know your Grandma as well. And I am very glad for her that she was able to meet her great grandchildren. I know that she truly loved you so much.

    love Matt.

  2. Oh Cara. I've tears running down my face as I read this. Saying goodbye to my Granny at 30 and pregnant with my second baby made me feel like her little granddaughter all over again. It doesn't matter how old we are. Grandparents are very special people who mold us and make us who we are. You so loved your beautiful Grandma and have given us a glimpse into her personality. Thanks for sharing. I hope the tears become less and the smiles become more as the days slip into weeks and then months. Take care. Gina.