Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
My grandmother died yesterday after an entirely too-long battle with Alzheimer's. As the oldest grandchild, I was lucky to have known her when she was healthy, which she was during all of my childhood. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to her this week, but it was much harder to slowly say goodbye as she descended into her illness. But that's not what I will remember about Grandma. I will remember how nearly-perfect she was. There aren't words to describe the depths of her kindness, there just aren't. I'm not a religious person, but Grandma was -- and she lived her life in such a way that religious or not, it was an example for everyone. When I think about her, the verse above comes to mind, because she was love.
Love is patient, love is kind. My grandmother was both of these in spades. The mother of seven children, grandmother of ten, great-grandmother of two -- it would have been easy for her to lose her patience. She could have become frustrated, hard, curt. But she never did anything but smile and love us. She did everything for everyone. When I was a kid, I would go stay with her for a week every summer and during that week I got to eat whatever I wanted, do whatever I wanted, and stay up as late as I wanted. When I got up in the morning, Grandma, like a short-order cook, was ready to whip up whatever breakfast delight I could imagine. We would laugh and play cards and have fun. One of my cousins, who was significantly younger than I, used to spend a
lot of time at my grandparents' house. When he was a toddler, he was
constantly calling for "Gammommy." How she didn't lose her mind was
beyond me, but she never did. She always answered when called for, and
always with a smile.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. My grandmother never talked about herself. She showered all of us with attention and affection, but she never asked for anything in return. I never heard her raise her voice or saw her get angry. As each of her children got married and had children, she welcomed the newcomers with open arms, happy to have more people to love. We spent every Thanksgiving with my grandparents and all my uncles, aunts, and cousins. Grandma cooked a feast for us every year -- with out complaint, sometimes without compliment. And she loved every moment of doing it. Come Christmas, she effortlessly whipped up the biggest variety of Christmas cookies I've ever seen assembled in one place. I haven't had a rum ball like hers in many years, but I can still taste it in my memory. She did these things because she loved them, because she loved us -- not so we would thank her or shower her with praise about her baking. Just because . . .
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. You might think my grandmother was soft, and she was, but she was also tough. How else does one raise seven children, six boys and a girl? How else does one survive breast cancer and a masectomy? How else does a person manage to keep a smile on her face even at times when she must've been exhausted, or cranky, or sick? In her gentle, loving way, she looked out for us all -- her husband, her children, and grandchildren, protecting us, always with a smile.
When I remember my grandmother, I will always remember her smile and her pervasive, unwavering kindness. And how much she loved us all.