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What does it mean? – Guest post

January 19, 2010

I never really got to know my great grandmother on my mom’s side before she passed away. She was already in her mid-eighties when I was born and lived in a small farm town in Michigan.

She sent me, and all her great grandchildren, a handwritten letter each year. Her handwriting was small, and shaky, and usually my mom had to read the two pages of her memories and life lessons to me. I was too young to appreciate them at the time, but every now and then I’ll bring them out now. One of my favorites was the last letter I received from her the year she died.

I was in junior high and she was in her early nineties and it was the 90’s:

“I saw two men holding hands. Love knows no boundaries these days. If only father (meaning my great grandfather) could see this! I wonder what he would say? I think about that a lot. He’s been gone almost thirty years now. I wonder what we would say to each other now. Us just sitting on our porch, talking. I think he would agree at least they found each other, even being two men, and hope they enjoy the conversations with each other as much as father and I did. I miss those porch talks more than anything.”

I remember after my mom reading that to me when I was maybe 11 or 12, and tears filling my eyes and not knowing why.

She still lived in the home on the farm in Michigan that my great grandpa built till the day she died.


The day she died she called each of her five children in the morning. She told them to come over for some lunch and there were a few more things she wanted to give them.

My great grandma had been slowly mailing all her belongings to family members probably since before I was born.

My grandma lived about an hour away and had already made plans for the day so she told her she’d see her for lunch tomorrow.

“No you won’t”, my great grandma responded. “God is calling and I’m going to see your father. I’m going to die today. I would like to spend my last few hours with you and your brothers and sisters. I’ll see you at noon.”

Once my grandma’s concerns of an elderly suicide were put to rest, she picked up her sister, picked up a few groceries, and headed over to the old farm house they grew up in. My great grandma wasn’t in failing health- well, I mean as non failing as one can be at ninety something. They spent the afternoon around my great grandma in her room, reminiscing of the life they all shared. Around dinner time my great grandma said it was time for her to go, God was ready and so was she.

Her children all gathered a little closer and laid a hand on her as her breathing slowed and her eye lids began to close.

“Your father is here. We’ll be waiting, together, to bring you to the Lord. And He is magnificent,” She slowly said in between the deep breaths raising her chest. She squeezed my grandma’s hand and then was gone, as if she had fallen asleep.

I don’t know what any of this means, if it means anything to anyone other than my family. But I know for me it means that when I’m ninety, I hope I enjoyed talking and spending time with my husband as much as she did. And I want my boys, in their seventies, holding my hand as my husband waits on the other side to introduce me to God.

Melissa is an amazing writer who posts about marriage, parenting, politics, weight loss, nicotine addiction…….  there is no end to the list of subjects.  You never know what she’s got going on any given day, but you can rest assured there will most likely be a giggle in there somewhere.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2010 10:34 pm

    Oh you made me cry. I know what you mean about wanting what she had. That’s how my grandparents were too. I miss them.
    Thanks for sharing that.

  2. January 19, 2010 11:31 pm

    That’s beautiful! My husband’s grandparents just moved in with his parents in the next city over and they’re a lovely example of undying love even as they are both dying. Andy and I were just talking this week that we’re glad we started having kids a little younger than our peers since we’ll hopefully be around long enough to meet our grands and greatgrands and enjoy time with them.

    I hope we get to meet God together. I’ve asked my toddler about God and she says she remembers, but won’t tell me more than that.

  3. January 20, 2010 3:30 am

    What a beautiful story! Love it. Thanks for writing it so we can all read it.

  4. January 20, 2010 6:07 am

    You are such a great writer. What an amazing story of beauty.


  5. January 20, 2010 6:13 am

    Beautiful. My daughter and I were in the room when my Grandmother died. A few moments before she died, the room was silent, and my 2 year old daughter all of the sudden begins waving and says, “Bye!” My Parents and I looked at each other strangely, and then we looked at my Grandmother, and she had just taken her last breath.

  6. January 20, 2010 6:14 am

    What a beautiful story Melissa, I would love to hear more about this amazing woman!

  7. January 20, 2010 6:32 am

    Oh my. That was beautifully written.

    By the way, I’m in Michigan, and have lived in two small farming communities! 😉

  8. January 20, 2010 6:36 am

    That’s absolutely beautiful 🙂

  9. January 20, 2010 6:48 am

    What a beautiful story! Sounds like you come from great stock 🙂 You are a great writer, and this post was awesome.

  10. January 20, 2010 7:00 am

    What a beautiful story. I’m so honored that you shared it with us!

  11. January 20, 2010 7:06 am

    I enjoyed reading your beautiful story very much.

  12. January 20, 2010 7:40 am

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  13. January 20, 2010 7:57 am

    That was an amazing post – I could see everything that was happening. Very visual experience. Wow. Very touching – thank you for sharing this with us – as I hope to be in her shoe’s when I am 90. I want nothing more than to live a long life with my family – your great grandmother was such a beautiful person.

  14. January 20, 2010 8:20 am

    This made my eyes watery. Your grandma died the way I’d want to go. She was able to say goodbye. Thank you for sharing. I love these kind of stories.

  15. January 20, 2010 8:32 am

    I sat here looking at the comment screen for about 2 minutes before I could even type anything. I don’t know what words to use to describe what I just read. Beautiful. Deep. Loving. GodIWantThat.


    That was awesome, Melissa. My husband’s grandmother passed away last February, and it was quite traumatizing for me. I wasn’t close to her, but every child, grandchild and great grandchild packed into her room at the nursing home and watched. And waited for her to take her last gasp. I wished it would have been more like your great-grandmother’s situation.

    Thank you for sharing!


  16. January 20, 2010 9:59 am

    Beautiful! And that is the way to go, happy, at peace and surrounded by family that loves you. And she was right, she will be in heaven waiting for you all.

  17. January 20, 2010 1:06 pm

    Ok – now I’m in tears! That was so beautiful, I honestly and truly hope that my life ends like hers did. She seemed like a wonderful woman full of valuable insight. Wow.

  18. January 20, 2010 8:19 pm

    What a lovely story. Thank you for sharing that.

    I hope I know when I am going to die so I will have time to fix all my mistakes. But I had better know at least a couple weeks in advance because it’s going to take me some time. 🙂

  19. January 21, 2010 8:36 am

    Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing, what a wonderful woman she must have been.

  20. Rachel permalink
    January 24, 2010 9:46 am

    Wow! What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing that with the world.

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