My grandmother passed away a decade ago. I was named after her. Growing up, we lived in a house that had been split into apartments – Grandma and Grandpa downstairs and my family upstairs. I felt close to her.
Today the thought crossed my mind that I should call her…until I realized she’s not going to be on the other end of the phone.
My sadness over this realization was short lived, thankfully. Grandma passed on so much advice and wisdom, some without even trying. I remember when I called from the hospital to tell her I’d had my first baby and she commented, “I remember that day like it was yesterday.” Her first child had been born some sixty years before mine. After hearing that, though, I took a moment to take in everything. To remember the contractions I’d had with my arms around my husband. To think about the way he stood by me, reminding me to breathe, and cooling my forehead with a towel. To think of that moment when Scott told me we’d had a boy. To look at that little guy’s face again and marvel over all of it. Grandma’s words helped me solidify those memories more than any book I’d read.
There are so many quotes from Grandma that pop into my mind from time to time, often because they had that sort of impact. I think of it as her way of saying hello, even though we can’t pick up the phone and call one another. One that I feel often is, “We had more love to give.” It was the answer she gave when I asked why she and Grandpa adopted three more children after giving birth to nine of their own.
They had more love.
And they didn’t stop there. They didn’t only raise eleven children. (One they lost to illness early on.) They sponsored children who were less fortunate in other countries. They embraced their sons- and daughters-in-law. They helped welcome several dozen grandchildren and great grandchildren – each one feeling that great love.
Grandma gave great hugs and shared warm smiles. She offered solutions when asked and kept out of it when not asked. She supported her husband, friends, and family her entire life. And all because she had love to give.
So, today I couldn’t call her. But I could call on those memories to remind me of that love. I could embrace the ways I’m like her and know that all that love she and Grandpa gave freely rippled out to all of us and will keep on flowing out to others as long as we let it. And that’s what I needed to hear – to keep my heart open to share with others all the love I have to share. It’s not meant for me to keep.