Thursday, February 28, 2019


June- the month of summer and sunshine.  It is also the name of my Grandma and for me "Grandma" also conjurs up memories of the same.  I see her smiling face and hear her laughter.  Immediately I feel loved and safe.

My Grandma June is almost 92 and it looks very much like she will soon be leaving her earthly body and going to spend eternity with Jesus.  Grandma has been slowly fading the past few years.  She is here in body but little of who she is remains.  For her sake, I cannot wait until she gets to go to be with her Jesus; she gets to be restored.  I love imagine the light returning to her eyes and I always imagine her giggling as soon as she sees Him face to face.

I have lost quite a few special people in my life- more than most, some say.  When you lose a dear friend at 14, it forever changes you.  When you lose three more precious friends, you learn to cherish friendship and each day you are given.  My experiences with the death of grandparents and of dear friend's parents has prepared me for the loss of my dear grandmother...or so I thought.  What I am realizing as I prepare to say goodbye is that really I am not ready at all.  I have known she was fading for some time.  I have already mourned the absence of who she was.  Intellectually, I know 92 is way past the average life expectancy; she has lived a long life and I know her time has likely come.   But the ache forming deep in my heart is strong- in moments the thought of losing her literally takes my breath away.  My grandmother is so deeply etched in the foundation of who I am.

Oh the memories!

I see her sitting at the table, in the cabin, snapping beans chatting with my Aunt Dorothy.

I see her serving coffee to a table full of friends and family sitting at that long table in her bay window, offering food despite insistence that all were full.

I hear her laugh and remember the stories she told time and time again.

She bought all her grandkids matching red-footed Christmas jammies long before it was in fashion.

She let us play dress up with her clothes and wigs.

She thought of all of us year shopping for her began on Decemeber 26 and I well remember how gifts were stashed in her attic and in the upper reaches of closets- stashed where ever space could be found.  I loved to snoop to see what would be coming under the tree.  She caught me peeking a time or two and laughed at my curiosity.

She bought me my first Mario game...on a wrist watch.  I knew it was coming and I snuck and unwrapped that gift for weeks before Christmas came, played the game and taped it back up.  She never questioned why I was so good at it immediately.

Oh how I love to play on her soft yellow cannopy bed and smell the perfumes sitting on her mirrored tray.

Her house always felt like a second home.

Summers spent at the lake were filled with love and full bellies.  I can almost taste her freshly fried fish and raspberry marshmallow dessert.  I can see the cupboards stocked with sugary cereals we only got to eat at her house;)

My grandpa was the fisherman of all fisherman and every evening after dinner most cousins would pile into the boat and go catch Crappy's.  I went a time or two, but usually I stayed back with Grandma.  Staying back usually meant baking- baking and hearing grandma's stories.  She showed me how to make cream puffs and watching them puff up in the oven felt like magic.

She poured love into all her food; maybe filling bellies was her way of filling hearts.

I always wanted to nap at my grandma's, far past napping age.  She would lie down among us and tell us stories.  We almost always asked her to tell us the story of 1 eye, 2 eyes, and 3 eyes.  How I wish I could retell it just her way.  It never got old; nor did hearing stories of her antics with her friend Mary Ellen or how she met grandpa...or how she'd sneak behind her parents' garage and put on red lipstick before school.

A few summers, my parents let my sister and I stay for a whole month with Grandma and Grandpa.  Oh the memories with my cousins- a sleep over every night.  I had a secret though, one I don't think we have ever talked about before now.  As an adult I wonder if any of them have this secret too.  I would try so very, very hard to wake up before all of them.  The five or six times my body cooperated with this plan held special grandma time.  See, my Grandma had her quiet time with Jesus before we all woke up.  If I was lucky enough to be awake, she'd invite me to grab a bowl of cereal and join her.  We'd walk quietly down to the lake and sit on the pontoon boat at the end of the dock and she'd read to me from her bible as I ate, the lake still like glass around us.  These memories are holy ground for me.  I think of it often now.  The days my children get up before the sun and want to join me for my quiet time- I struggle.  This is my time, my time to pour my heart before Jesus and let him fill it up with his presence.  Grandma never seemed to be this selfish, never seemed to mind my joining her.  Not once did she seem the least bit annoyed; she always made me feel like I'd made her day by joining in on her special time.  I often wonder if she really was that loving and unselfish or just a really great actor....I think it's the former.  It inspires me.

I broke grandma and grandpa's German cuckoo clock.  Yes, cousins that have forgot- that was me who pulled on those dangling pine cones.  The clock was a souvenier from their trip of a lifetime- a month traveling Europe.  I was old enough to know better but I played with the clock; it broke and she wasn't home.  Uncle Jer and the cousins that were present panicked.  I was terrified.  We heard the car pull into the driveway a few minutes later; I was crying and I ran to hide.  I heard all the voices frantically tattling on my poor decision.  I heard footsteps coming.  Then I heard grandma's voice, "Kimmy get out here.  You know I love you more than any clock."  She hugged me as I cried.  I think of this every time I read the story of Adam and Eve hiding in the garden of Eden.  She came to find ME and in doing so reflected my Heavenly Father. 

Oh! How I will miss her stories and hugs.  I miss taking walks and picking wildflowers.  I'll always miss her black velvet chair and kitchen papered in Ivy wallpaper- the chair a symbol to me of her softness, the ivy of the way she wrapped life around all of us.

I'll miss her singing hymns and teaching Sunday school at Wright Church.  I'll miss her making cookies and cinnamon rolls- of watching her cut the dough with string.

I'll miss her saying, "come have a little visit with Grandma" when she wanted to have a heart to heart.  I'll miss feeling like her favorite; she had a way of making each and every one of us feel just that special.

Her life was not pain free.  She endured deep tragedy and pain and yet she was joy-filled.  She loved big.  Her door was always open and therein one would always find her open arms and heart.

How I love my Grandma LaPine.

I hope I always open my arms and home, and I fill bellies and pour coffee and somehow in the process fill hearts with the love of Jesus.

I love you forever Gram. Thank you for loving me well.