Monday, October 07, 2013

grandma great

20061208-Grandma in Dancing Dress My Grandma Ruthie passed away on Thursday.  For years she struggled with a strong body but a fading mind.  She was ready to move on and I’m sure her soul soared once she was free from her frail and failing mind, into the joy of eternity, reunited with her beloved Dean. 

But this physical world lost a bring shining light on Thursday.  Grandma Ruthie was one of my biggest heroes.  She was full of humility and grace, hard work, grit and love.  She was meticulous and caring, creative and resourceful, witty and frank.  I loved her squeaky voice, her love of children and teaching, her sense of order and routine, her firm faith in Christ, but mostly, I loved the love that radiated through her whole being.  I always felt cherished by her.  Like I was the coolest thing since sliced bread.   20070101-Ruthie and Dean Wedding 7-26-43 Grandma Ruthie was one of the great minds behind Joy School.  I have loved feeling extra connected to her as I’ve taught my children in Joy School.  Her order and sensibility and old school charm is poured into the lesson plans.  Sometimes while preparing lessons I felt like I could hear her voice, telling me how to make apple sauce, how to ensure the children kept things neat, how to help the children become engaged.  I could hear her talking to me about the importance of puzzles and stories and rules and finger plays.  I feel like she has been imprinted on my children through Joy School. I love that. 20070101-Ruthie Grandma Ruthie was an elegant lady.  A dancer.  A beautiful home maker.  She was as thrifty and resourceful as they come.  She had to be, she was widowed when my dad was only 16 with 4 younger siblings.  She always fed us powdered milk and home made apple sauce.  She made things work and last and stretch.

 bear lake-7617 Since she passed I’ve been thinking about the things she handed down to me, and to my kids.  They didn’t get to see her that much before her mind started going, but they each have a special unique connection wit her.  bear lake-7631Hazel inherited her amazing ability to work with young children.  I always think of Grandma Ruthie when I hear Hazel patiently negotiating little children through activities and lessons.  Hazel even set up her very own little preschool this summer with some of Em’s friends.  She is a natural (and she didn’t get that from me!)bear lake-7628Charlie had a special bond with Grandma because he was born on her beloved Dean’s birthday.  We had decided to give him Dean as a middle name even before he decided to come on that significant day.   Charlie feels very bonded to Grandpa Dean and always seemed to try to pour out love onto Grandma Great on Dean’s behalf.  I love this picture (above).  They had a unique kind of connection. bear lake-7659 Grandma’s genes shine through Emmeline in the way she likes to keep everything tidy and organized.  She always knows exactly where everything is.  She puts her things away.  She makes her bed.  This is not something I have trained her well to do (sadly I’m no good at training my kids to do things like that) it’s something she got from her Grandma Great.  [IMG_0871%255B3%255D.jpg]And Peter (who really won’t remember his grandma great at all) got her humility and charm.  She was a witty, likeable lady.  And he’s a witty, likeable lad. bear lake-7683 Here are a few of the times I’ve been able to see Grandma Ruthie over the past few years.  How I wished we’d have spent more time with her.  -0871  IMG_6752%255B3%255D Here she is covered in grandkids.  At this point she didn’t know who most of them were but her heart still radiated love for each one of them.  She especially brightened up when they sang Joy School songs.  She’d ask, “Did I have something to do with that Joy School?” and always seemed so happy when we told her the grand influence she had had on so many children’s lives.  IMG_3757

The last time I saw dear Grandma was this summer at my cousins bridal shower.  Even though she slept through most of it it just felt right to have her matriarchal presence there.  I wish I had a picture with her that day.from shawni bl 2013-368

Now that generation in my family tree is gone.  Ruth was my last living grandparent.  I am certain that she lives on.  I see her live on through all of us -- 5 children, 23 grandchildren, 51 great grandchildren!  And I know she is living on in another sphere with her beloved Dean. 

In a beautiful blue lagoon on a clear day, a fine sailing ship spreads
its brilliant white canvas in a fresh morning breeze and sails out to the open sea.

We watch her glide away magnificently through the deep blue and
gradually see her grow smaller and smaller as she nears the horizon. Finally,
where the sea and sky meet, she slips silently from sight; and someone near me says,
"There, she is gone!" Gone where? Gone from sight, that is all.

She is still as large in mast and hull and sail, still just as able to bear her load.
And we can be sure that, just as we say, "There, she is gone!"
another says, "There, she comes!"

- Paul H. Dunn


God’s plan is great. 

I wrote a little more about Grandma Ruthie a few years ago here.  And my sister Saren just put up some great pictures of her (and more of her life story) here. 


  1. Oh Saydi! This post and the poem especially touched my heart. This was a great reminder to me to cherish precious time with loved ones we have left with us. Also, to point out to my kids what qualities they get from their grandparents. Love you, friend!!

  2. Saydi, I love this. I was so touched as you explained how each of your children carry a part of her in their beings. I can't look at Joy School the same. I knew she was the mastermind behind it, but as I teach my boys this year, I'll feel a special love for her. Thanks for helping us get to know her better. xoxo

  3. Love this, Saydi! Where do you and your sisters get all these wonderful photos? I've never seen the one of her in heels in her home before. Now I want to think through all the traits that have been passed on to my children as well. Thank you, darling cousin. It was SO GOOD to be with you.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to Grandma. The pictures are simply spectacular. What foresight to think of taking a picture of each of your kids with her. Truly beautiful!



Related Posts with Thumbnails