Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Again


We're home after an emotional weekend. On one of the most beautiful June days I've ever seen, we celebrated my Grandma Gie and buried her ashes in the cemetery right next to my Grandpa Ginny. He's been gone 18 years and she missed him terribly. Now they are walking through the warm Iowa prairies together with three of their children by their side.

She was born and raised a Catholic who had the nerve to fall in love with a Baptist. Neither family supported the marriage, and both congregations shunned them. So the Methodist minister rode out to the farm in the 1930's and said they were welcome at his church. Therefore my mother was raised Methodist. All of her brothers married Catholic women, so we now have a family divided right smack down the middle between Liberal Protestants and Conservative Catholics. But we love each other all the same.

At her graveside I read an excerpt from "And what is so rare as a day in June?" by James Russell Lowell. One of her favorites. She could recite the entire text.

After the burial, we retired to my Uncle Sam's vacation cabin in the woods for cards, and camaraderie around the campfire stocked with Iowa white oak. This cabin isn't what you might expect - it's smack in the middle of the woods and used mostly for hunting. There is no lake, no beach, no dock, etc. Just a large iron bathtub in the yard where he cooks up a pig now and then. He left the next morning to wait for five feet of flood waters to leave his business and begin the clean up.

That night, my siblings, kids, spouses, etc gathered on my brother's porch to watch the sun set perfectly over the valley of Decorah, IA on the longest day of the year. I haven't yet cried for my Grandma. Instead I feel a profound sense of peace. She went home, and home is where she wanted to be.

This is what life is about: sunsets, children, loving old folks, celebrating the little moments, Iowa white oak in a campfire, a nice glass of wine, holding your spouse's hand, walking through prairies, laughing with loved ones, breaking bread together, and going home.

12 comments:

Bubs said...

I'm sorry for your loss. You've made a lovely tribute for your grandma.

FranIAm said...

I have been thinking of you and wondering how you were, so I was glad to see this.

And yes, you have given such a tribute to your grandmother and her life, as Bubs said. Really lovely.

This liberal and progressive Catholic is part of a Jewish-Catholic family and the Catholics, except for me, are all very conservative.

The Jews - not so much!!

Peace to you Mnmom and good wishes.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

She sounds like a great gal. Welcome home.

Shan said...

Oh, sweet post. So sorry, once again, about your grandma's death, but it sounds like she lived a full and long life, and I'm glad to hear the funeral and day were celebrations of her life and of your family.

I hope no one bathes in the tub where the pig is roasted.

Sheleta said...

I hate to hear about your loss. But you really brought life and what is most important about life into perspective with this blog today. I appreciate you being so opena nd sharing with us this very painful part of your grief process. We love you and we're praying for you!!!

janban said...

What a sweet post! I think when we lose someone we love, we step back and take a look at our own lives. When Dad died it made me realize that my life will come to an end at some point and I need to take stock of how I'm doing. Am I treating others right? Am I loving my family like I should be? etc
Sounds like you had some precious family time. What a good thing!!

Border Explorer said...

I'm so sorry you've lost your dear grandma.
The photo that tops your post is gorgeous.

Christopher Tassava said...

What a beautiful and sad and beautiful post. You were lucky to have her, but she was lucky to have you, too.

michaelg said...

A fitting tribute for your beloved grandma. I love the poem you read. How perfect.

Beth said...

Sounds totally blissful!

Missy said...

what an inspiring family you have, I am sorry for your loss.

...tom... said...

...
Ya know . . .I really do not need another blog to read.

But I think I might find some pretty consistent value in here.

Soooo... click.


...tom...
.