My grandma died unexpectedly 30 years ago yesterday. As the third oldest grandchild, I’m one of the few of my generation who was blessed to know her well.
She used to take me shopping. She let me eat bowls of whipped cream. She gave squishy hugs, her purse smelled like band-aids and her Kringla was amazing. She was proud of me, and I knew it because I could hear it in her voice when she spoke.
My grandma lost her husband to cancer when she was very young, and she was left with five kids age six and under to raise by herself. She was the first woman at the bank where she worked to have her own office and she used to let me sit at her desk and play on her typewriter. I loved, loved, loved the sound of the keys clicking as I punched at them with my little fingers. (I still love that sound.)
Grandma did hard things well. She could have turned bitter, but she stayed sweet. How do you do that? How do you do life when the man you love is gone and you have five babies to raise?
I imagine she leaned into her Savior in ways I can’t even fathom. When I awaken on occasion at 2 a.m. and start wondering if I’m totally screwing my kids up, I can roll over and lean into the man who is the rock of our home. The guy who always has my back and pours his life into our three young men. That’s not to say that I don’t cry out to Jesus. Because I do. Often and sometimes in very emotional, snotty-faced ways.
But the picture of my Grandma trusting Jesus when the other side of the bed was empty, when her life was drastically altered by cancer, brings me great joy.
I have joy that my cancer story ended differently. But I also have joy in looking back on Grandma’s life and seeing the legacy she left. The legacy of trusting Jesus in hard things. If I know anything about my Savior, it is that he is worthy of my trust. Grandma knew that, and she lived it in her life. A life that a lot of people remember fondly even three decades later.