Ten Year Tribute to Grandma

I happened across this time capsule article that I wrote to myself just after my Grandmother Hilda Spindler’s funeral.  The happening was quite a coincidence with the document being written 10 years to the date that I stumbled onto it.  After reading this time capsule, I thought it would be a nice post to add to my blog.  A 10 year’s after tribute to my Grandma Spindler.

February 12, 2008

It is rare occasion when a loved one’s life comes to an end and can be celebrated as a joyful event, but that is how my grandmother’s funeral was celebrated.  My grandmother spent 103 years on this earth and she left on her – the Lords terms.  She did not have any diseases that cut short (if you can call 103 years short) her life.  She just faded away on Friday morning and left this world.

The main reason that this occasion was such a joyous one when usually many tears are shed, is that in all participants’ situations, nothing was left undone or unsaid.  I did not hear a single person say, “if I only spent more time” or, “if I only took the time to say…”.  You see, we realized grandma spent each day the same way – with love, humility, grace and love for God.  Between grandma and her husband, who passes away at 97, they gave many people, especially their 5 daughters, us grandkids, great grandkids and a few great-great grandkids, the way to live life:

  • How to humbly go through life
  • Love God with all your heart and soul
  • How to enjoy a great marriage life
  • How to have fun.

As for the daughters and grandkids we were there for grandma and grandpa to both give back and learn what they had to teach.  My mom and aunts took turns and stayed with grandma for the last 8 years of her life.  That meant leaving their homes for several months at a time and in some cases long travels to be with grandma and take care of her so she could stay in her own home as long as possible.  This went on for over 5 years until grandma was too frail for the aging daughters themselves to take care of.

The grandkids all visited whenever possible.  Most, like myself did not get the occasion to be there much since we lived 1000 miles away, but we made it once a year.  Our family left it all on the field, so to say.  We received may gifts from our grandparents, but then also gave back a little.

On the day of the wake and funeral, we all had many good memories to share.  It was also a rare occasion where our family came together from all over the country.  It was a time to look back at all the good things that grandma and grandpa did for us and community.  We all were good examples of the good that they represented.  We all had a chance to reminisce and remember the good times, the funny times and all the occasions where we gained gifts from our grandparents.

One thing grandma and grandpa were for the family and that was a central rallying point.  Many of the fond memories expressed were related to all the times where the family got together while visiting them and all the fun and blessings that happened during those events.  That is one thing we all will miss, because we no longer have that common element to bring and unite the spread-out family.  There still was a pledge to set up a vacation to bring all together.  Family is great.  Grandma and grandpa showed us how important and great family is and how blessed we were to have each other.

One thing that grandma and grandpa introduced to the family is card games.  They both loved to play cards.  From the strategic game of Clabber (Euchre with meld) to the cutthroat game of Pounce, it was great to visit grandma and grandpa’s house because we always knew that there would be enough people to have at least one game going.  It is almost Biblical, as the saying goes, if there are 4 or more relatives in your presence, there is a card game about to break out.  We love to play cards.  Someone always has a deck of cards with them.  After the wake and funeral, in grandma’s memory, heated games of Clabber broke out.

We learned a lot about life playing cards with Grandma and grandpa.  We learned that there are rules in life:  a card laid is a card played.  We learned humility:  if you have a killer guaranteed hand, grandma may just spring a 4-Jacks 200pt. meld on you and cause you to go set.  Grandma was a little on the lucky side like that.  Best of all, we learned that there is always another game to be played:  it does not matter how bad you got beat, how bad the cards were, when you were at grandma’s you were assured that there would be another game in just a little bit to jump in again – maybe this time I will get grandma as a partner.

In all, we had a very joyous funeral for my grandmother.  There was no regrets only good memories of good times, the wonderful gifts we inherited from them, and the great family that still surrounded us.  The funeral was rather smallish, mainly because grandma had outlived all her generation family and friends.  What was left were all the people that she was directly responsible for – family and new second or third generation friends.  Thanks grandma for everything.  Save a spot for me up there with grandpa and dad.

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