Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grandmother Bates

My Grandmother Bates

I attended my grandmother's funeral this month.  She was 98-1/2 years old.  I was with her when she passed away peacefully at her home.

As I sat and watched her a couple of hours before she passed (she had been in a coma for 2 days) I contemplated on her and her life. 

She loved to create.

This was a passion deep inside her, one that had to be satisfied.  Her creations brought her great joy and fulfillment. They were an expression of who she was and her love for God's resources.  She blessed the lives of others with her creations and her many talents.  At her funeral I thought - what do we take with us from this life - nothing material, none of our possessions.  We take our talents, our knowledge, and our relationships with others.  We take our memories, the good things we did, unfortunately we also take our poor choices but hopefully we have overcome some of those things and put them behind us. 

I can learn a lot from my grandmother's life.

She had extreme perseverance, a strong testimony, she was blind the last 16 years of her life but this did not stop her from creating - she did it by feel and touch and by determination.  2 days before she passed away she made a wreath from a cottage cheese carton lid and wool felt.  She was amazing!  Throughout my life I have wished my grandmother was more interested in me personally and how I was doing - but I have come to realize that there are many different ways of loving others. Not everyone can give the way we might need but that doesn't mean they don't care about us or love us.  We just have to learn to accept the different ways people show love.

I am understanding this concept of different ways of showing love more as my own children have families and have communicated their need for more attention from me.

I realize that I am alot like my grandmother.

I show love by the things I create and care deeply in my heart and think about my children a lot but don't always take the time to communicate that love.  So as I have learned a little bit more about the way I show love - I am able to understand my grandmother a little better and realize that it's not that she didn't care - it's more that she cared differently.  We judge things in life the way we see and feel them and it is not always the most accurate view.  So I guess I have learned to judge less and love more.  And that also applies to me - I need to judge myself less and love myself more.  I have such a hard time with this concept.  I love others and give them the benefit of the doubt but am so hard on myself. 

Grandmother I love you!!

You lived a good life - you made the best of your situation and kept on going to the end.  You fought a good fight and you won.  You are back in the presence of our Heavenly Father and moving toward your eternal reward.  I know you have seen my father and rejoiced in that reunion.  I know you are with your ancestors - all those you loved and did genealogy for.  I know they are eternally grateful to you for those efforts you made in their behalf.  I know heaven rejoiced when you came home because you were a valiant daughter of God.  I know you did the best you knew how and I applaud you for that.  You touched many lives. 

I am grateful my mother was able to be your caretaker for the past 2 years.  I know it added a richness to your life.  This ability to endure to the end and make the best of situations is a quality I see in my mother, she sees what has to be done and does it.  I know this was a quality you had also - a trait you passed on and I am grateful for that gift as it has blessed my life many times.

So - to my own life!

I am so blessed.  I have beautiful children and beautiful grandchildren.  I recently spent a few days with my daugher-in-law Katelyn and my 3 amazing grandaughters.  Kamryn - 3, Brooklyn - 5 and Lauryn - 7.  I was very humbled at how excited these girls were to have me come. All those things I am so hard on myself about they don't even see.  To them I am grandma and they truly love me.  This is such a blessing in my life.  As I watch these beautiful children and spend time with them, I am truly committed to make sure that they know that I love them and that I care about who they are and how they feel.  That is a piece I can add because I know how much my grandmother would have given that to me if she had understood it and was able to do it.  That I know - if she had known how, she would have, and that heals the pain because I can now feel how much she loved me.

Life is full of joy and sorrow, ups and downs.

I know that if we live our life close to the Savior, Jesus Christ that we will be able to weather life and its trials and that we will find much joy in the journey.  We can't control this world and other people's decisions but we can control how we live our lives.  We can control who we choose to follow. We can control where we put our efforts and our trust and our faith.  I know that if we choose to follow Christ we can have peace, joy, love, charity, hope and all that is good because that is who Christ is - everything wonderful, virtuous, lovely and of good report.  I will seek after these things!!

I am a daughter of God who loves me and I love him. 

I will stand as a witness of God in all things and in all places as I strive to live the Young Women values which are:  Faith, Divine Nature, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Virtue and Integrity.  I believe as I come to accept and act upon these values - I will be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants, strengthen home and family, enjoy the blessings of exaltation and live a good life.  I truly believe this!!  Life can be good and wonderful and marvelous.  That does not mean that we won't have trials because believe me - we will - but we will have strength to endure those trials and be stronger in the end.  This is my testimony!!  Love your children, love your grandchilden, forgive those who have wronged you.  Live a life of happiness, of faith, of love!!  Be Happy!!