A Legacy of Grace

This past Christmas a smattering of aunts, uncles, parents, cousins and grandchildren huddled around the back window at Nine Mile Creek Senior Living. My 93-year old grandma waved from the window as we shouted, “Merry Christmas!”; our masks surely masking the heartache of not being able to hug her and hold her soft fragile hands.  I drove home as Alison Krauss’ version of “Baby Mine” flooded the speakers. Hot tears fell down my face when I thought of all the babies my grandmother had held; the ones she buried, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren she prayed for over rosary beads and hugs. I’m not sure how I knew, but I felt like that was the last time I would see her.
We lost her early this past Friday morning. I am thankful that she is at peace, and out of pain. But I need to write so I will remember.
I’ll remember how she played with me. At 42, I’m the oldest of 11 grandchildren. The youngest, Ella, is only 11 years old- so inevitably Ella and I knew a very different Grandma Peg. In between tennis matches and volunteering at the local Catholic School, she played train with me on the stairs. I pressed my cheek to the giant speakers in the living room while she played my favorite records and made me lunch.  She held tea parties for the grandchildren in the upstairs bedroom- never forgetting to hide treats under the tiny china saucers. She handed me bouquets of flowers from her garden out back while I wove myself between the blossoms “helping her”.
I’ll remember her quiet time she made for everyone. My cousin Kelsey said it best, that she had a way of making everyone feel loved and treasured. One family get together, she walked around the room with a bag of gold-foil wrapped chocolate coins. She spent the day sneaking aside softly clutching the arm of each grandchild and whispering- “a penny for your thoughts…”.
I’ll remember how much she loved my grandpa, who’s been waiting for her in heaven since 2008. How she treasured dinners at the “Lex”, and social events at the Women’s Club. She had a sweet tooth and loved a good Manhattan. She made time to look nice; always dressed to the nines with matching jewelry.
I’ll remember her gentle grace. She was so humble- quick to wave her hand at any over-the top praise, only to make room for the latest grandchild-produced skit that the cousins had worked on the last hour in the den.
And even the last few years, as her body began to give up a bit, she would answer the phone as if it was the nicest thing in the world that I decided to call. “Well, Susie!”, she’d say, still making us feel just as loved and treasured. A few years ago, on her 90th birthday, we gathered to celebrate as a family. I’ll never forget, leaning close to our conversation so she could hear over the buzz of relatives, and her half laughing, saying, “Can you believe I’m 90?!”
If someday, I get to live to be 93, and I can look out on a legacy of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who love me as dearly as I love my sweet Grandma Peg, then I think that will be a life well-lived.

1 Comment

Robin Parranto - February 16th, 2021 at 9:35pm

That was beautiful Susan. Sounds like you have a wonderful woman looking over you:)