First off I miss you already. Feels like when we buried grandpa just a few months ago (3 months in fact) and in my head I had dreams of years still with you; but that wasn’t to be.
My grandma Arlene was one amazing woman. She was a farmer’s wife and one could easily argue a farmer herself. She was a hard worker, a traveler, loved her family, and selfless in all that she did. Her life was about helping others and loving everyone along the way. She had the best laugh and would always clap when she got excited; I loved that about her. She gave me some of the best life advice I’ve ever gotten. I actually got to interview her to prepare for my cousin’s wedding that I was officiating. She told me that marriage is 50/50, but sometimes it gets all 60/40 on you, be patient, work hard, love hard, it will right itself.
On a chilly Tuesday morning we laid her to rest next to the love of her life of 77 years, my grandpa Marlin. She went home on February 12th to her love just before Valentine’s Day and his birthday. I said I was a little jealous of the party when my grandpa passed away and made it to heaven, you have no idea how jealous I am to miss this time around. My heart is happy to know that they are home again with one another.
At 97 years my grandma had a great life. She would be the first to tell you that too. Never a complainer she took life in a stride that made things look easy from the outside looking in. She was a poet and writer. I’ve always felt a kindred spirit in her as I (you’re probably not shocked to know) love to write as well. One of my favorite poems that she wrote and I think of often is entitled, “Again?” It’s about all the meals she has cooked in her lifetime, let’s just say it feels very relatable.
When my grandpa Marlin was really sick a few years ago I remember my grandma was holding my hand while I cried thinking of losing grandpa. Grandma Arlene told me, “Brenda it’s ok to be sad. But you have to remember, all you see when you think of us dying is all that we will miss; but all we see is all that we got to stay here and be a part of; and how lucky we are!” And she was right, she had the 60 more years of life experience to back all that up; so I’ll give credit where credit is due. If we could all be so lucky to live a life as full and as fulfilling as my Grandma Arlene.
She was ready, that is one thing that is for sure and I love the grace that dying in that way provided for her and our family. But it’s still hard and I think I’m still going to be sad (because she did say I could be) for a while. Her love still hasn’t gone anywhere and I know it never will, in my measly 38 years I am positive of that.
We had a book put together of all her writings over the years. The ending of the book was read at her burial and I’d like to share it here as well….
A Closing Message from Arlene
Written in 2014 to her children, grandchildren, greats and so on…
This I memorized in high school and has always been a favorite:
“So live, so that when my summons comes to join The innumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night, scourged by his dungeon ; but sustain’d and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like the one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
-William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis; To a Waterfowl; A Midsummer Sonnet – Pamphlet
At my age I realize I’ve already said everything I ever wanted to say so from now I’ll just be repeating myself.
This wrinkled face comes from a lifelong love affair with God’s beautiful outdoors, more than my share of laughs along the way and a healthy concern for those I love – not from simply rotting away. The secret to enjoying life on earth is understanding that it ends. Take this knowledge my dears and live simply, love often and love deeply. Enjoy the journey.
Some days we feel like our 90 year warranty expired before we did!!!
I love you and miss you Grandma. Until we meet again…
5 thoughts on “Grandma Arlene”
I finally got up the courage to read this. And of course I’m bawling. You summed it up perfectly!
Grandma Arlene lives in on every single one of us. I love that you got her ability to tell a story, and I feel like I might have gotten the poetry side. 😉 Love you, sister!
Is “This wrinkled face” her’s? So good! How blessed you are to have had such a wonderful woman to look up to! It’s sad that so many miss out on that opportunity.
My Grandma France died at 90. She wrote about her life before marriage and gave it to me. While I was home at the beginning of the pandemic, I took the time to type it up to share with family but it would be awesome to be turned into a book like your Grandma’s.
Those women are rare but treasured.
May we become them as well!
Yes that is her writing at the end of the blog. Isn’t it awesome?! Her book is treasured by all of us, as I’m sure your stories from Grandma France are also. And yes, treasures to look up to!
Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute about your Grandma Arlene. She really had ‘a wonderful life!’ I love how you ended it with her words that she already said everything she needed to say so now she will be repeating herself. You really captured her loving, creative spirit. Inspiring and hopeful! My condolences to you and your family for your loss.
Thank you Kim, that means a lot. She was a character!
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