My Grandma lived the last decade of her life as a prisoner in a body that was filled with sickness and solitude– yet she never complained. She was able to show joy to those around her and rejoiced even when she didn’t feel like doing so. Today, sickness, age and pain are no longer a factor as she has a resurrected body that is whole again. She has regained the use of her limbs, she talks in a voice that has been silent for so long, and she’s content.When grandma had her stroke, she lost the capacity to talk normal. She could only say certain phrases: mommy, I know that, NO, and I love you. She never lost heart though. She made the best of it. The remarkable thing was that she could kind of sing the words to two or three songs. One of the songs was Amazing Grace. I believe that even though grandma had suffered a terrible stroke that rendered her body and voice immobile, she still felt God’s amazing grace on her each and every day.
She adored all of her grandchildren and referred to us as sugar babes. During the summers, grandma would take us for long walks down to the lake, help us collect rocks for our special rock collections, have jars ready for the lightening bugs we caught at night, and maker her infamous biscuits and gravy for us to eat in the mornings. She also wanted us all to grow up big and strong by feeding us our Flintstone vitamins.
I’m quite biased, but as a grandma, she was the best. She always said she had a special place in her heart for each one of us. Little did she know that we all hold a special place for her as well. As children, we don’t quite comprehend or realize the unconditional love that our grandmother’s have. After all, she had a sign in her house that read, “If mom says no, ask grandma.” That’s true love right there. Grandmothers are also extremely patient with us. When our parents want to beat us to a pulp grandmothers talk to us calmly…over milk and cookies. Grandmothers also give us guidance and life skills in a way that is fun rather than task orientated. As adults, we come to realize, often to late, how lucky we have been to have such an amazing woman to call our grandma.
Grandma wasn’t much on cursing or swearing, but she when she would get really mad, her face would turn red and she’d say H-E-double hockey sticks. Now for awhile, she could get by with that because we couldn’t spell, but when we could all finally spell, she was the one in trouble!
I shared with my grandma several months back all the things that she has taught me throughout my life. She taught me the importance of going to church and praying, she bought me my first nightgown, she taught me how to clean house and to make a bed, she told me that smoking was wrong and why, she gave me a love for antiques in which I decorate my home with today, she encouraged me to find the good in people and not focus on the bad, how to cook for a crowd, how to be a gracious hostess to company, but most of all, she taught me love. Not only was she my grandma, but she was my best friend.
Irene HensleyMarch 12, 1936 - January 18, 2013