I’ve been writing this in my head for many months now. I was worried I might embarrass you and no time feels like the right time to write about your death, but for quite a while now I’ve found it rather foolish that we wait until someone’s funeral, when they can’t feel loved and honored by our words, to finally say to them and proclaim to others how much we love them and why we love them. So right now seems like the right time to acknowledge the life you’ve lived and the person that you are and I would be forever saddened if you went to meet our Savior before I had an opportunity to share with you (and with the internet) just how wonderful I think you are.
I’d like to remind you of memories, thank you for your example, highlight the person that you are and let you know that I see you.
You are an inspiration. You are quiet strength and beauty and grace. You are stubborn and thoughtful and generous and kind. You are too hard on yourself and you are loved, forgiven, and extended grace by our Savior.
You humbly serve others asking nothing in return and you love unconditionally in a way that I hope to some day live out myself.
You are so smart. You are so organized and your house is always, always clean. Clean sheets, clean bathrooms, clean floors, clean kitchen. Even your grass is clean. I (and my husband) wish I could be clean and organized like you. You are hospitable and generous and a fantastic cook.
I have more memories with you than I can count.
Knowing Aisley and Barrett will not remember or experience hair cuts or lumpy mashed potatoes or boney roney or the most amazing pancakes anyone will ever have in their lives or the sweetest morning conversations at the kitchen counter or 14 different homemade desserts to choose from or your gentle hands combing through their hair while they cuddle with you on the couch floods my eyes with tears of sadness…but also tears of joy because I did get to experience all of those things with you.
Thank you a million times a million for all that you did for our wedding. You went above and beyond and above and beyond and I know in that moment I was not thankful enough. And even now, 4 years later as I’m still processing all you did to make that weekend so wonderful, I can never, ever say thank you enough in enough ways to convey how meaningful it was to me that you spent your money, sacrificed your time, and so willingly offered up your home for me. It meant so much to have such a huge part of my life take place at such a huge part of my life.
Thank you for taking me on vacations. Thank you for telling me I’m a good writer. Thank you for taking me shopping and to get milk shakes and out to dinner. Thank you for so selflessly driving me half way to Ohio while I slept in the back seat rather than visiting with you during a season of your life where you had almost no time on your own. I didn’t see it then, but I see it now and I am so thankful for your sacrifice.
Thank you for letting us massacre many a mannequin head. Thank you for letting us play with your calculator and ride on “the hump” in the car. Thank you for getting a swimming pool and then spending all the money and doing all the work to take care of it. Thank you for a hundred hair cuts and a thousand scoops of ice cream and a million cookies. Thank you for homemade fudge and for sneaking us treats.
Thank you for being a great mom. Thank you for going to all of Daddy’s soccer games and school events and for making him feel valued by you. Thank you for walking him around the block at midnight and loving him through his screaming and persevering as a mother and for sharing your life lessons with me.
Thank you for loving mine, Erin’s and Ashton’s babies. Thank you for caring about our families history and taking the time to write up the story of our heritage and giving it to us.
Thank you for telling me when you’re proud, reminding me to listen to the wisdom of my parents, pointing me to Christ, and not being afraid to be stern when I was making mistakes.
Thank you for inviting Papaw Jan to holidays. Thank you for welcoming him and making him feel like family. Thank you for laughing at his jokes and letting him stay so late and giving me such a great environment to spend time with him.
Thank you for train sets and Lincoln Logs and Mega Blocks and make-up and Christmas pajamas and opening just one present on Christmas Eve because who can wait?
Remember when you popped your first wheely on the four-wheeler and then went home and decided you needed your own four wheeler?
Remember when you went snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean?!
Remember when we got lost on vacation in St. Louis? You were so brave.
Remember when you bought Collin a Barbie for Christmas and he jumped up and down and danced and screamed with excitement?
Remember when Poppy tricked Ashton and I into pulling all the black-eyed susans in the whole yard? All 1 million of them.
Remember when you came to visit me at college and we sat in my dorm room on my bed for a couple hours and just talked and you shared life lessons and memories and dreams? I loved that. Thanks for driving all that way and paying to stay in a hotel just so you could see me. I was so proud to have you there and so excited to spend time with you that I invited you to come on what turned out to be mine and Christopher’s first date.
Remember when I asked you to give me your king size bed? I genuinely don’t remember that and I’m sorry I asked such a huge thing of you and I’m sorry you thought I was dead serious. Maybe I was? But THANK YOU for actually GIVING us your king size bed. Are you kidding me?! I can say with certainty that our happy marriage is largely in part to the size of that bed. Thank you for a happy marriage ;)
It blows my mind the way you’ve cared for people at the end of their life and it absolutely, completely breaks my heart that at the end of your life I can’t be there to care for you. God has given me two sweet little ones to care for and I am so thankful for them, but every day I wish I could be there to fix sandwiches for Poppy, to wash your hair, to read you books or tell you a funny story about Aisley or reminisce with you about how much you have impacted my life.
You have sacrificed YEARS of your life, 24/7, to wait on people hand and foot who could do nothing for themselves. You missed holidays with family, worked countless hours, spent the night in Mr. Jay’s sauna of a house, stayed in hospitals, drove back and forth all over town for doctor’s appointments and pharmacy runs and to pick up food. You amaze me. I am challenged by you and I pray to our great God that he will equip me with the same selflessness, kindness, generosity and servitude that he gave you.
You have prepared meals for new moms, grieving families, those recovering from illness or surgery and shown them love through faithfully delivering home cooked meals in a way that words just cannot communicate. Even when you worked multiple jobs while caring for Mr. Jay you still never missed an opportunity to take food to people who needed it.
You are such a remarkable wife. Your selflessness does not go unseen. Your servant hood, submissiveness, and silence speak volumes and I am so thankful for your example. Thank you for showing me how to love. Thank you for demonstrating patience and perseverance and discipline and kindness. Marriage is hard. Good marriages are hard and bad marriages are hard and I have learned so much about being a good wife from watching you.
Granny, the thought of you not being here on earth anymore breaks my heart. I will, we will, long to be with you always. We will miss you. We will talk about you constantly. We will tell our children stories of who you are and who you were and what a remarkable person you were. I will tell people that I am who I am because of you. I will never take someone a meal or make a pot roast or role a pie crust or cut Aisley’s hair without thinking of you. The absence of your life on earth will leave a void in the lives of all of us who remain here and I say with utmost sincerity that I am jealous for you with a Godly jealousy that you get to go see our God in heaven.
Aisley talks about you daily, so we’ve been preparing her, telling her that you’ll be going to see God soon and she always responds by telling us that she wants to go too. We all want to go.
When people say they’re going to a better place I don’t think they realize what they’re saying. We belittle it by calling it “a better place.”
You’re going to live in HEAVEN!
To see Jesus face to face and to hear him tell you “WELL DONE!!!! GOOD and FAITHFUL servant.” You are going to know Moses and David and Paul and JESUS and will understand things that we on earth long to understand about who God is. And you get to do that soon. What a joyful thought. My heart is glad for you. I am overjoyed. How marvelous and wonderful and captivating is the thought of you passing from death to life.
It is my prayer that all of your days left here on earth are full of joy and peace and laughter and love. I pray that you are free from guilt or worry or shame or pain or suffering. I pray that you are fully present and that you soak up the moments with each person. I pray that you pass from life on earth into eternal life without pain or fear and with great peace. I pray that you trust God for his provision for those you love and that you do not live out your days carrying the burden of what will happen to us or to Poppy when you’re gone.
I love you. A hundred times over I love you. I am thankful for you. I will miss you beyond words.