Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bill Withers - Grandma's Hands

My grandmother passed away last week, before dawn Thursday. This news did not come as a great surprise -- her health had been failing in the past few years, and particularly in recent months. I had spoken with my dad just the night before she went, and he had said that my grandma -- his mom -- wouldn't be here much longer. This was a woman who was born in 1915 in Peru, Nebraska, who spent the years of the Great Depression as a young adult, attending nursing school in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Who married in Springfield, Mo., and not until 1944, a few months before her 29th birthday, and who raised four children, had 13 grand-children, 16 great-grandchildren.

My mother's parents lived hours away by car, but Grandma Roush lived in the next town over. In my childhood, particularly in the first ten years, hers was "grandma's house." And as I grew into adulthood, she never seemed to change -- her stoic but loving personality never wavered, and her mind remained clear and sharp. She was already into her 70s when I first knew her, and for more than two decades of my life, she simply was. It got to be that, even as her health began to fade in recent years, when a birthday would roll around, I'd count one more year down to 100. I wasn't under any illusion that my grandmother would live forever, and yet I have never known another person with such an unwavering strength. She was a constant, for so many years. Her service was yesterday, and we gathered as a family to say goodbye, and also to celebrate a life fully lived.

Now, my grandma was not known as much of a music fan, apart from a few church hymns, but I wanted to dedicate my day to her. Rest in peace, grandma.


Oh God... It's Lou. said...

My condolences, Tyles. It's good to know that some people have lived and will live long, enriching lives to touch those close to them so. Thanks for this.

Eric said...

Condolences, Tyler.

(And, though it's obviously not really the point/far less important, Bill Withers hugs.)

Craig said...

This was nice. I don't have anything else to add.

Werdna said...