On Wednesday, March 22, my grandmother went to be with her Savior. She fought cancer for years, always determined to see one more wedding, one more graduation, one more Christmas. Eventually, though, it was time for her to go home.
My initial grief response had only one focus: I didn't make it home to see her one last time. I missed her by two days, too late to get one last embrace with the grandma who always gave the best hugs. I couldn't stop thinking, "I just want to see her."
However, I have realized in the days since that I see her everywhere. I have noticed so many small, almost unnoticeable elements of my life that can tie right back to my grandma and the lessons she taught me.
My grandma was generous in every sense of the word. She was generous with her time, with her food, with her heart. She loved fully and expressively. She supported and encouraged with gusto. She was a social butterfly who lived for relationship. My grandma's smile and "I'm so proud of you" will stay with me forever.
My grandma loved to laugh and tease. I can still see her mischievous twinkle in my mind, a look she especially loved to give the significant others of her children and grandchildren. I think my grandma was the first to suspect that the "friend" I introduced my freshman year would be special, the friend who eventually became my husband. I know this because she gave me the knowing grandma smile almost immediately. She was also one to enjoy card games where she could good-naturedly accost my grandpa with banter and distraction techniques. I see my grandma anywhere there is joy and laughter.
I see her in the family traditions I know so well. Most of our tried and true recipes came through my grandma, who was an excellent cook. I always knew that, no matter the day, my grandparents would be working their way through the Bible in a year... again. I don't know how many times they read through the Bible, but I'm sure it is in the double digits.
I see her most of all in my mother, her daughter, whom she raised to be hospitable, social and capable in so many ways. Each time I see my mom wrap a gift, make food for a Bible study, write an encouraging note or give someone a call because she feels like they might need some support, I can see my grandma's values and strengths shining through.
I will miss my grandma in so many ways. I will miss her colorful outfits, her exuberance, her unique expressions. Most of all, I will miss having the freedom to call her at any time and be reminded what it feels like to be loved with such unapologetic bias. But I haven't lost her completely; I see her everywhere.