Are there people in your life you really admire?
Me, too. I just got the news that one of them that I truly love, passed away. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I wrote a story called “Written Words” and mentioned my grandma Wilma’s knack of story telling that would fill an entire house with laughter. In “Windows” , it was her kitchen window with the maple table. Grandma Wilma stormed heaven’s gates this morning.
I can just picture her up there, running to her loved ones with her smile that lit up this earth and her open, squeezable arms. My grandpa would be there waiting, checking his watch. You see, in their 90 some years of birthdays, they were married over 70 of those!
Last August grandma turned 96. For a homeschool project, Little Bit and I researched the history of her birth year, 1919. Surprisingly, we read that 1919 was one of the worst years in American history. The country was in turmoil, influenza was taking many lives, and the White Sox threw the World Series.
What they didn’t mention, was that four of my heroes were born in 1919 in the rural areas of Iowa. Not only grandma Wilma, but also my grandma Irene, and grandma Irene’s sister in-laws, Irene and Esther. I count my blessings every day that they each saw many years, and that my great-aunt Esther is still with us.
These women changed this world with their lives. Maybe not in ways you’d recognize, but the way they lived is the backbone about everything that’s right in this world. They were hardworking, self sacrificing gals who took care of their families and treated others with compassion, respect, and loyalty.
Each ones’ heart was so big, if you walked by them, you might fall in. None of them ever met a stranger. And, they all stood up and fought for what they thought was right. All of my best traits I credit to these incredible role models.
When I think of Iowa, my mind takes me to the farms of my youth, to church on Sundays, holidays with my grandparents, farmers, hard working families, kind souls that are generous and tender hearted. My heart takes me to these women and their houses and kitchen tables.
Grandma Wilma said when it was her time, she was ready. And, she was. She said she knew we’d miss her, but she did not want us to mourn. Can you imagine? Those are probably the most loving words ever uttered. She always put others first. Always.
There are so many things I miss about her already. For instance, the sound of her laugh, her stories, the “grandma” smell of her house, the farm, sledding parties in her Iowa hills, and that twinkle in her eyes. The thing I think I’ll miss the most about her is that she wore Iowa well. Everything that Iowa means to me, is in her.