This past weekend was a bittersweet weekend. The girls did amazing and looked adorable in their ballet recital (I’ll share pictures later…) on Saturday. On Sunday my family said goodbye to my amazing Grandma after 92 years of life and today, we buried her with our final prayers and goodbyes. My cousin wrote a wonderful obituary for my Grandma HERE. It was not an easy weekend.
Four generations – Cedi, Me, my mother Joan, and my Grandma Grace
We were all so lucky and blessed to have had my Grandma in our lives for so many years. I think the hardest part about all this is imagining a world without her in it. When I say that I realize that this world does still have her in it.
Grandma with her 7 daughters
She left behind 13 children, 34 grandchildren, and 37 great grand children (and counting). She has touched each and everyone of the members in of her family and their spouses and has given us memories that will always live with us. I know many of the things she did and taught me I hope to share with my own children someday or I hope my mother shares them with my children. My grandma did not have an easy life – her own mother died when she was just 11 and a lot of the child raising and farm work was put on her shoulders. Her family lived through the depression – her stories from that time were just unimaginable. She never drove a day in her life – she walked everywhere. And anyone with an ounce of sense knows it couldn’t have been easy. But she lived her life with Grace.
I asked my husband what he remembered about my grandma and he said, “That she was always feeding me and she always made it feel like home.” I don’t know how many of you that read this blog have a big family like my mom’s side but it is truly amazing. All of my memories of my grandma’s is not just of her, it’s of all the various aunts, uncles, and cousins, stopping by for coffee, or to play cards or to have lunch or dinner. The house that she lived in was always bustling with family and fun. My brother and I were the only cousins that did not grow up in the DePere are so I’m sure we missed out on a lot of what Grandma had to offer. BUT, since we didn’t live there we had many a sleep overs at Grandma’s house and there were even times when my parents were moving or went on a trip that we got to stay at Grandma’s for a week or so at a time. Those were some of the best weeks of my life! You always tried to wake up early so you could have Grandma to yourself and play around of Gin Rummy or King’s Corners with her before the rest of the crew arrived. You never just had a bowl of cereal for breakfast – you had bacon and/or sausage, eggs, toast, banana bread, Tang, and of course – chocolate chip cookies. Yes, my Grandma even put a plate of cookies out for breakfast. In fact, she had what seemed to be a bottomless cookie jar at her house and it was the first place all of her visitors sneaked into when they stopped by. Whenever there was a special time or trying time happening in your life you could always count on Grandma lighting a candle for you. Christmas was a time of the year that I cherished with the Landwehr’s (I honestly cherish anything that has to do with tradition – but just wait). When I was younger we lived in Minnesota and would travel to Wisconsin for the holiday’s. We stayed at my Grandma Landwehr’s and would run down in the mornings to a wonderfully decorated Christmas tree that Santa had visited generously. I’m not sure if I am remembering correctly when we celebrated with the family but I think it was on Christmas Eve. This was just in the early years of my life but we would all gather in Grandma’s basement for the holiday. I was pretty young then but I do remember a room full of laughter, cheer, kids running around wild, and of course, Grandma right there in the middle of it. As our family continued to grow (we now number well over 100 at our Christmas’) we moved our celebration to a hall that we rent. It was much nicer this way – plenty of room for card playing, uncontrollable laughter, food to be enjoyed, catching up with family, a visit from Santa and course, Grandma was in the center of all this as well.
Grandma Landwehr and Capri
The service for my Grandma today was a wonderful service. I loved the Gospel that was read –
New International Version (NIV)
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Marthaopened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
All of her children nodded and laughed when they heard what she picked as they could relate to why it was read. During communion the song ‘Amazing Grace’ was sung and it brought tears to my eyes yet again. Both of my Grandma’s are named Grace at this song has always held special meaning to me. As I’m writing this more and more things about my missed Grandma are coming back to me. I’ll try to wrap it up though as this is getting pretty long. It’s going to be hard driving by her house and not stopping by for cookies, coffee and a game of cards and I know that she is happily joining her husband, daughter, granddaughter, brothers and sisters and other loved one in heaven right now. I know she looked down at the throngs of people that shared their condolences with the family she left behind and smiled (but at the same time wish there wasn’t such a fuss made). I know that what Cedi said when I told her the news about Grandma was a perfect response, ‘Aw, that’s a bummer.’ And I know that even though Grace Elizabeth is no longer in this world, she lives on through her children, her grandchildren, her great grand children, and all the other people her soul has touched these past 92 years. I’ll love you forever, Grandma.