Our last evening together is one I will always treasure. It was a gift from God. I don't know if you knew for sure who I was, but you knew I was family. We both knew we belonged there together in that moment.
I held your soft hand as we talked and shared memories. I wasn't sure of what all you were telling me about, but your smile and gentle laughter filled the room. A rush of memories flooded my mind. So many of them were of your laughter.
Leaning against your chair memorizing the beautiful laugh lines on your face, I remembered being a little girl sitting on the floor in your classroom looking up at you as you read books to us. Our favorites were Amelia Bedelia and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. You would laugh so hard that you cried.
When I was older, sleepovers at your house with Aunt Jenni were the best. We would be so silly, but you never seemed to mind. You joined in our laughter even when we were laughing so hard we were snorting and falling off our chairs.
As we talked I tried to get you to take a drink or eat a cracker. You told me firmly and clearly that I could just put that away! I guess you and I are a little alike. We're both stubborn. But it was you who taught me to always offer to feed others or at least get them a drink. All my memories at your house include crowding around the dining room table and anywhere else you could squeeze us in for a meal.
As we visited Gaither music was playing softly in the background. Les began to sing along. Then you started to softly mouth the words too. It made me remember the day when I came and sat with you at Jenni's house not too long ago. We listened to the Gaither's and sang all the songs about "going home." We talked and ate apples together. What a sweet day, but it was a good thing we were there alone. Neither one of us were great singers.
As the time came near for me to leave, the tears kept clouding my eyes. Goodbye's are hard. I kissed you on the cheek and told you I loved you. You told me you loved me too. I will forever cherish that "I love you." Then your last words to me were, "Don't be so long next time."
Oh, Grandma, it will probably seem like a long time to me, but I will come see you again. I look forward to that day in heaven when I can hug you once again. We will walk through the beautiful gardens picking apples and eating them. We will catch up on the last few years, and then you will invite me to your mansion where your dining room will be full of people. Laughter will ring from the rafters, and we will be together forever.
Until then, I will remember all that you left me. You left me a love for God and a love for people. You were generous and kind, always hospitable and sacrificing for others. My life is rich because of you.
Thank you for a life well-lived!