where have I been?

Perhaps you have been wondering if I had 
fallen off the face of the earth.....
or perhaps, not.

Last Thursday, my 90 year old grandmother
went to heaven.  On Sunday, I went
to Wisconsin to attend her funeral.

{Grandma at her 90th birthday party on January 13, 2012}

Since returning home on Wednesday, I have struggled with
what do with this post....what to say....how to say it....so I have
decided to just type and see what comes out....

My grandma was a stubborn Norwegian. Our relationship
was complicated and while I knew she genuinely loved me,
I also knew I was not her favorite.  She successfully completed
the New York Times Crossword puzzle everyday until just about a
month ago.  She considered her self a 'blogger' which meant she
sent out mass emails to her closest family and friends about 
every few days or so and EXPECTED that we would
all email her back.  She was a Democrat who watched CNN
almost continuously each and every day.  She grew up on a 
rural family farm but was also Valedictorian of her senior class.
She was a much more "warm and fuzzy" great-grandma than she was 
a grandma, and that was just fine by me.  I will always remember the time
I brought my girls to visit her just a few years ago.  She was beginning to 
have difficulty living on her own in her home.  Cooking had become
particularly difficult.  However, knowing that I was bringing
my girls to visit, she made homemade mac&cheese for my girls.  
Now, the mac&cheese was a "unique" recipe and one that
my girls' had not enjoyed before, however, knowing 
their fragile great-grandmother had made it with love, they
did their best to let her know how much they "loved" the dish.
That mac&cheese was made with *love*.

My grandma's mind was crisp and sharp till then end.....unfortunately
congestive heart failure and COPD had made life hard to live.
My dad travelled to visit her and she told him she was ready
to leave this earth and go to heaven.  She had already refused
food and was giving the nurses at the care facility a hard time
about taking her medications.  

Last Tuesday she got her hair done "to look good in the casket".  On
Thursday at about 1:00 she signed a medical directive stating her wishes.
She went to heaven at 10:30 that night.
Phew.....we should all be so blessed to live a FULL
90 years and then decide we are content and ready to go.

Traveling to the Wisconsin town that I had been visiting 
for my entire life was emotional.  Both sets of my grandparents
had lived in the same town, less than a mile from one another and 
now they are ALL gone.  
As I have done most of my adult life, I went for a run the first morning I was there.
 My run always begins at my grandma's house and continues across town 
past my mother's childhood home, around a small pond and 
park I visited often as a child then up the main street of this tourist town,
with it's t-shirt shops and candy stores.

In addition to moving often as an adult, I also moved
often as a child.  This small Wisconsin town has been a 
constant in my life, the closest thing I have to a 'hometown' 
{even if I never lived there} and really, I don't know when I will 
return to see it's familiar sites again.  How ironic, as so
often I dreaded visiting this place!  Particularly, when I was younger,
 I wanted to be from somewhere 
bigger, more exciting, more 'sophisticated'.....

This weekend, I embraced my Wisconsin roots, my extended 
family and mostly my grandma who showed us how to 
live and leave gracefully.....
17 comments on "where have I been?"
  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I don't comment all too often, but I'm a long time follower from the PNW, Portland to be specific. :)

  2. Oh, Jill...I am so sorry for your loss. But what a blessing your grandma must'ave been to you. She left you with such warm and special memories. My prayers go out to you, my friend...and just know that heaven has one more angel watching over you. ♥

    xoxo laurie

  3. Beautiful, my friend. The realization that a family member is not going to be around anymore is a very difficult one. Much love and many hugs to you and the rest of your beautiful family. XOXO.

  4. What a beautiful description of your grandmother. Sorry to hear about your loss.

  5. Such a beautiful post. Sending hugs and my deepest sympathy.


  6. Jill, your description of what that small WI town means to us is awesome, As a child I always wanted to vacation somewhere else, now that our Grandparents are gone and we have no "real" reason to go there I miss it terribly. Sure wish I could have been there, sending my love.

  7. i'm so sorry for your loss. your grandma, in some ways, sounds a lot like mine did. a tough cookie. thinking of you and your family.

    ashley over @

  8. Jill I am so sorry for your loss. Your relationship with with your Grandmother and your description of her sounds so similar to my grandma who past away 2 years ago.

    I would love to say it was an awesomely lovely relationship but...I can say God is amazing how He mends and works forgiveness in hearts and that I have an eternity to really get to know her some day.

    bee blessed

  9. that was a beautiful open & transparent post my friend...thank you for sharing some of your heart.
    i'm sorry to hear of her death.

    thinking of you

  10. I am very sorry for your loss. What a wonderful person to have in your life and what good memories you have to comfort you now that she is gone.

  11. hey
    Fabulous information, I am very glad to look at your post. For the love of God, keep writing these articles

  12. So sorry for your loss, Jill. My grandmother passed almost 3 years back now and she was 94. Reminds me much of your grandmother. The loss of my grandma has also been hard for I miss our talks and her wisdom. Where in WI did you visit? I live in WI...it really is a great place and I could see how it feels like "home"

  13. If you've read my posts at all, you know that this has been a year of loss for me. We remember the good and the bad and the ugly but after all is said and done, we hold tightly to the good. What a beautiful way to go! For my parents it was a long, slow dreadful journey and I have to concentrate on the good memories or it would kill me. Thank God she went swiftly.

  14. I'm so sorry about your grandmother's passing. She sounds like she was a real go-getter! I'm sure it was hard to be in your little WI town with all those memories...

    God bless!

  15. Beautiful,


    Love the pic.

    xo Suzanne

  16. Jill,
    I'm sorry for your loss and for the difficult feelings it can bring up. One of my favorite promises is that though it doesn't appear like it now, as children of God we know that, when he appears we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. All of our imperfections will be gone and we will be like Christ. (I John 3:2)
    As Billy Graham says, we are just sinners saved by grace. The next time you see your grandmother you know you'll have a perfect relationship because you'll both be perfect. May the Lord comfort you & your family.

  17. What a lovely tribute to your grandma and your childhood. I'm so sorry you lost such a treasure in your life Jill.


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