Sunday, April 17, 2011

My sweet Grandma

While we were down in Utah with my Mom, she got a call from her only brother and one of her sisters telling her that her Mom (my Grandma) was slipping away and that she would be leaving us very soon. My Grandma is 91 years old and now only weighs 79 pounds. She has suffered most of her life with Arthritis. The past 8 years she has been in a nursing home and there have been a few times we thought she was going to be passing away and she would always rally and then be fine. But, this time things are very different.I told Kent that if Grandma was still with us, that on our way home from Utah I needed to stop and see her. 

When we arrived in Cardston at the hospital auxillary where she is now staying my Aunt Peggy (my Mom's sister), Uncle Ross and their kids Amy, Aaron and his wife Jen, Natalie and her husband Paul and Spencer were all there with Grandma. We didn't know it at the time but they had just given my Grandma a blessing of release. When we walked into her room they were all crying and the spirit was VERY strong! I was so humbled by the spirit and feeling in the room. 

I walked over to my Grandma and she was wide awake (normally she is sleeping) and told her who I was and she smiled and said hi. She has the best smile and twinkle in her eye. I put my hands under her blankets and grabbed her hand as I wanted to hold her hand. It startled her as my hands were so cold :) She asked me how come I am so cold and I told her I was sorry they were so cold, but they are always like that and she said it was alright that it felt good. 

I have to apologize for how these pictures look as they were taken with our cell phones since we didn't have a camera. So the pictures are fuzzy looking...but I am still thankful I have them.
 My Grandma and I

Kent and I last saw my Grandma in January and  there is such a big change since then. She was skin and bones then and now she only weighs 79 pounds.

Kent giving my Grandma a drink of water. When I turned to see Kent doing this it melted my heart. He is such a good man!
Grandma and I visiting.

I told Mom that even though Grandma is physically sick, to me, it was very evident that her spirit was there and was aware of all that was going on. I loved holding her hand and her telling me my hands were so cold and her smiling at me. Her and I would just stare at each other and I would keep reminding her who I was and each time she would say something different. One of the times she said,

 "Oh Barbara, there you are, I have missed you."

It made me cry cause I knew for that moment she really did see me and know who I was for the first time in years. I told her how much I loved her and she smiled and said,
 "we love all you kids so much"

(she was talking about all the Grand kids). She even looked at me  and said,
"you like to play house"

my cousin Natalie and I laughed and I said yes Grandma I did. And then we talked about playing house and dress up under the stairs in their basement. She was smiling as we talked about it.

Saying goodbye to my Grandma was very emotional.
I was kissing her forehead and telling her how much I loved her when she looked at me and said,
"tell them to do as the spirit guides them."

I smiled at her and tears were pouring down my face as the spirit was so strong. Kent and I were shocked by her saying this...but it just goes to show how aware her spirit really is.
You could feel the peace she was feeling. I told my Mom that it was like for that brief moment our spirits were connected. I will treasure that last precious time I had with her ALWAYS!!

I am amazed by this woman- her spirit that is so strong when her body is failing and so weak. It is wonderful the words she said to us and the precious time I could spend with her before she leaves us. She has always been in pain and suffered, but has always been such a good example of perservering and dealing with it.

I love you, you sweet, sweet precious lady!

Tears have been constantly running down my face on and off all week. So many thoughts and memories of my Grandma are just pouring in and my heart is SO full. I don't want her to suffer anymore and I know she will be leaving us very very soon. I can only imagine the sweet reunion she will have with our Heavenly Father very soon....she will no longer be hurting...I am so excited for her! 

This song "Goodnight Sweet Dreams" is what my Grandma would sing to her kids at bedtime and they all passed it down to all of us. So fitting for her right now :)

Our memories of Grandma Woolf...
My Aunt Peggy asked all of us Grand kids to email her our memories of our Grandma so she could put something together for her funeral. This is what I sent to her.

Grandma taught me (Barb) many things I can remember:
  • Grandma was someone that showed me unconditional love- when I was doing things I shouldn't, she would tell me, "I love you, but you are too cute to be doing that."

  • How to properly spread butter, jam, peanut butter on toast..."you must spread it from corner to corner so the whole top of the toast is covered, otherwise it won't taste as good."

  • I can still hear her say, "oh honestly"...she said that a lot whether happy or not happy about something.

  • Her teaching me how to wash my hair really good, by using my fingers to scrub my scalp....I remember her giving me baths and teaching me when I was a little girl and staying at her house.

  • Her teasing us and having such a fun sense of humor- always new how to make us laugh.

  • Whenever we would come over to their house she would greet us with the greatest smile and always showed us so much love. She had a softness and a twinkle in her eyes and a smile that was always so nice and welcoming.

  • Grandma always had cookies in the cookie jar that was on the table.

  • I loved helping Grandma clean or do whatever she needed done since she couldn't do things cause of her arthritis. Helping her meant that I got to spend time with her and have good visits.

  • I had the best time helping Grandma make HUGE batches of cookies or banana bread or whatever she wanted to make at the time. Stirring these huge batches our arms would get SO tired, so we would have to take turns stirring. We would have the greatest talks during this time with her.

  • Grandma taught me to always put lotion on as it was good for my skin.

  • I can still picture Grandma out working in her flower beds. Her roses and flowers were always so pretty and she took such good care of them.

  • Grandma also taught me how to make a bed properly. How to put on a pillow case and bed sheets the easiest and quickest way possible.

  • Grandma was always exercising it seemed. She told me that we always need to exercise and keep moving as that is what our body needs.

  • playing dress up and house under their stairs in the closet. Grandma would always motivate us to do this and to use our imaginations.

She was always such a lady and always looked so nice from head to toe. I loved looking at her old pictures from when she was younger and she would tell me the stories about each of them and how she would light up.
Cole and Tyson's memories:

1) playing with Grandma's canes with Nikk and Austin at Grandpa and Grandma Woolf's house

2) when she was in the nursing home and we would go visit Cole and Tyson loved rubbing lotion on Grandma's hands and feet for her since they were so sore and she loved lotion
. She would just watch him quietly and smile and say thank you, that felt nice.

3) Tyson said he remembers pushing her in her wheel chair to go take her to eat and sitting with her while she ate and they just sat and smiled at each other...he said, that was great!

4) always had cookies in the cookie jar.

To be honest I have really struggled and have been having a hard time putting these last 2 posts together. It has taken me over a week to finish both of them. It was such a wonderful experience down in Utah with my parents and my sister and her family and I was finding that I was struggling to say all that I wanted to say and how to say it. And then on our way home seeing my Grandma and saying goodbye and all that was felt there as well. How do you describe such happiness, peace and sadness?? 

All I keep thinking is my cup runneth over, my soul is so happy with all that transpired last week. Oh how I needed that trip and that precious time with my Grandma. I am truly blessed and I have SO much to be thankful for!

Reading all the messages from my Mom about her memories and thoughts of her Mom have been so touching. I can't imagine how she feels. My Mom has been such a good example to me of how to serve someone you love when you are needed. Watching her take care of her Mom has been so neat and I hope one day that I can do all that for her when she needs me. She has always been such a good example to me in so many ways!

My thoughts are with my Grandma and her kids these next couple of days as they get to spend such sweet precious time with her. My Mom and Dad and my sister Emily will be driving up Monday morning and arrive in Cardston Monday evening.  

"May each of us remember this truth; 'one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God.' Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one."
Thomas S. Monson (Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson)


Angela said...

Thankyou for sharing all your sweet memories. I love hearing stories about Grandma since I don't know her very well. She is a wonderful lady with lots of great children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Her sweet spirit will live on in all of you.

Barb Stanford said...

Hi Barb & Kent,
I am so glad you both had such a good time with your Mom & Dad in Utah. Also,I am happy you got to see your Gramma. God Love Her. It made me cry to see her in your pictures. I'm sure she knows she is well loved. Thank you for being you Barb. And of course I know you have a wonderful caring husband & I love you both so much.


Lynn said...

Oh Barb! I am so sorry that you've been dealing with all of this. It's good to know that you were able to spend that time with your grandma. I am in tears just thinking about it. I was given the chance to go see my grandpa, who I was very close to and didn't at the time. Who knew that he would have a heart attack and pass away just a couple of months later. Always regretted that.

Anyway...this post about all the things your grandma taught you has really got me thinking. I really need to make sure that my granddaughter learns all good things from me too. Your grandma is such a sweetheart!

Barb Stanford said...

Lynn, you will be a wonderful Grandma! I hope one day I can be just like my Grandma Woolf as she was the best :) She was really my only Grandma I knew. I didn't know my Grandma Anderson as that was my Dad's Mom and we never got to see them very often since we didn't really see much of my Dad. Sad isn't is not my Grandma Anderson's fault we don't know her....and that is something I wish was different.