When I was a little girl, I would laugh every time she would say that. Her Jimmy Durante accent and all.  "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash" and she would giggle.

We lost my Grandma a week ago.  After a string of illnesses, a broken hip, and another infection left her body weak and unable to fight. The tough old lady that she was, I knew she fought hard.  Strength was her middle name (not really, it was Jean) and she proved a lot of people wrong over the years.  Raising children at times as a single mother, running a business in the 50's and 60's. She wore so many hats I don't know how she kept it together.  Maybe, because back then times weren't so complicated by the technology we have today. Instead of being sidetracked by cell phones, computers, so many television channels to choose from, she just showed up and did it.

When I was born, Grandma (and Grandpa) lived close and one of my first memories of her comes from being in her kitchen. That was one of her many gifts. She could COOK!  I remember an endless supply of chocolate chip cookies that came from a olive green Tupperware container. Meals were always big and there was lots to go around. She knew how to cook for an army!

After my Grandpa had a serious heart attack when I was about 4, they quickly moved south to avoid the cold Midwestern winters. I hated to see my family go. Everyone moved but us.
Our visits south were only twice a year and would last a week or two. We would drive 2 days to get there and I always knew I was in for a big squeeze of a hug when we arrived.

Every Christmas, Grandma made enough cookies to last clear into the new year. She made so many different kinds!
 One of my most favorite memories is, how she would make sure we got to spend time in the kitchen together making popcorn balls. It didn't matter if we rolled in on Christmas eve, she would get out the roasting pan, the air popper, and a pan of bubbling hot sugar syrup.  We would laugh and she would tell us how to get it just right.  Lots of butter! big sticks of butter we would rub all over our hands so the popcorn and syrup wouldn't stick to us but stick together as we would mold them with our little hands. Brenda Lee crooning "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree" would be playing and everything was right in the world.

A few years ago, I had been especially blue and missing childhood Christmases. She must have sensed it because, a box arrived on our doorstep. As my husband carried it in and handed it to me, he said "don't open it yet. Just smell it!"  The smell of sweet popcorn was evident without opening the box and I stood there crying great big happy tears.  Grandma had been thinking of me and she had remembered our tradition that we both loved so much. They tasted just as good as I remembered.

After my son was born, we didn't make it down to visit much at all. we talked here and there on the phone, sent pictures but, it wasn't the same. Every Christmas I would try to be excited but my heart was always a little sad and longing for the old Christmases.

When my son finally got to meet his great Grandma, he was about 2 years old. We made it a point to visit in the summers and she did make it up a handful of times to see us.  Oh did they make fast friends! Every day after school he would go visit with Great Grandma until we got home from work. I could see her heart swell when he told her he loved her and gave her hugs.

I think the hardest part is seeing our son and his first real experience of losing someone he loved very much.  She left such an impression on him in the few short years they got to know one another.  When we sat him down to tell him that she was finally with Jesus, we all cried really hard.  You think as a parent you should be the strong one but you know what? it's OK. I'm finding out it's actually quite healthy for children to see you grieve. We've had a good chat he and I. Just because he is a boy, doesn't mean he isn't allowed to cry. It's OK to show emotion and it's not OK to hold it all in and pretend everything is OK. I'm teaching him early because, it took me 30 plus years to figure this little gem of advice out.

Another gem?

I just learned that you can be some one's rock but, that doesn't mean you have to hold it together and not express your grief. I always thought being some one's rock equated to sucking it up and holding it together for someone (or everyone) else.  Years of trying to be that rock, the one that held it together and stuffed it all in  caused a lot of emotional and physical issues.  It's amazing how much better you feel in the end if you just allow those tears to come and those emotions to flow.  So yes, you can be some one's rock, support them, love on them, listen to them, stand beside them, hold their hand, PRAY for them but, also know you can feel your feelings too.

I honestly felt as if God had lifted me up out of the deep pool of grief the first of this year. I came up for a good cleansing breath after such a long time of grieving and healing from  the loss of my dear friend.
This time though, I started grieving early. We knew about two weeks before Grandma passed that her time here on this earth was coming to an end very soon. Can I tell you that it doesn't make the hurt go away any faster knowing ahead of time. Sure, it makes it a little easier knowing she is no longer bedridden and ill. However,  having peace in my heart, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt where she is, and who she is with, far outweighs the heaviness of this burden called grief.  I've been on both sides of this spectrum now.  Having known someone who has tragically left this world with so many unanswered questions and then the other side, knowing Grandma didn't have much time left and being able to begin grieving sooner.  Honestly, I"m not sure which of the two I would rather chose. Losing anybody you love is never easy. Even knowing they are safe in the arms of Jesus.

Until we meet again Grandma. #ILY


**Linking with Bonnie Gray at #OneWordCoffee


  1. Thank you for sharing such a beautifully written visual of your relationship with grandma Jean. Wow. I pray your family will experience the Holy Spirit's healing balm even more as the days go by, but yes - you will see her again! God bless!

  2. I'm so sorry you lost your dear grandma, Krista. May God give you all strength and peace as you grieve her loss. She sounds like a beautiful person and grandma. I love what you say about how being someone's rock doesn't mean we have to hold it all together and not express our emotions. I love that you and your husband are teaching your son through your own actions that it's ok to cry. Blessings and hugs to you!