Archive for July, 2022


Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2022 by amylawrencepxp

Time is both a blessing and a curse. It marches on, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year, never wavering. As time passes this July, I desperately want it to slow down or stop. Time feels exceptionally cruel as it carries me further and further away from our last conversation; our final skype call; our last visit full of hugs, laughter, photos and cherished memories. Time is forcing me back into my routine, a return to work and responsibilities. But it all feels wrong, and I’m not sure I know how to do it anyway. Right now, time is a curse.

Somewhere down the road, time will become a blessing. As it moves me forward, the pain won’t be as acute. I won’t experience the same anguish or ache or emptiness. I know someday, the joy of our relationship and all the time we had together will matter more than anything else. I will remember the zillion reasons my life is better because of her and tell my favorite stories with smiles and pride. But in this moment, it’s nearly impossible to imagine healing in place of my broken heart.

We lost sweet Grammy Helen. Three months after celebrating her 100th birthday, she is now in heaven. Her death was relatively sudden with no real chance to say good-bye. I’m grateful she didn’t suffer; the majority of her last few days were spent sleeping. My uncle was with her as she rested, and she had the care and compassion of nurses to make her comfortable. I was hours away from boarding a plane to Wisconsin. All I wanted was one more chance to see her and hold her hand, even if she wasn’t awake and I only got a few minutes. I prayed and believed I would get that opportunity, but God had a different plan. A moment when I have to choose to trust Him and His timing, though I don’t understand why.

Our last conversation was exactly one week before she died. She wasn’t her typical cheerful, funny, talkative self. She was weak and tired and struggling to eat. I tried to encourage her and coax her into walking down the hallway to the library. I suggested sitting on the front porch the way we did every day during my visit in June of 2021. I told her she was strong and pleaded with her to try. I reminded her that she was my favorite superhero. Before we hung up, we said “I love you” more than once. We ended every phone call with “I miss you” and “I love you.” I planned to check on her Sunday after church, but she told my uncle she didn’t feel like talking. I wish I had called anyway, just so he could put the phone to her ear to hear my voice.

Grammy knew I was on my way to see her; she didn’t want me to spend the money on a plane ticket. In true Grammy fashion, she told me to save my money. She never wanted me to buy her gifts for birthdays or Christmas. She once yelled at me when I sent her a new pair of sneakers to replace worn out 20-year-old shoes. The replacements were exactly the same color and style!! She was VERY angry until she tried them on; then she couldn’t stop gushing about how comfortable they were and how thankful she was, ha. That was her last pair of shoes.

Right now, it seems like the days and nights will stretch on forever; sympathetic friends and co-workers will return to their normal lives; I will go through the motions, but I will never feel better. I will never experience true joy again, only this sadness. Rationally, that can’t be true, not as time keeps moving. But that’s how my heart feels today.

A well-known Bible verse is printed on a decorative sign that hangs in my living room. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” These words from Philippians 4:8 come from a section about trading anxiety for peace and how to do that. Even as the waves of emotion threaten to knock me flat and I miss my Grammy more than I can express, I am determined to remember what was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy about her.

Helen was kind and sweet and generous and funny and conscientious. She was a GREAT friend who cultivated relationships over decades. She would sit and talk with them for hours. She attended grade school with her oldest friend Angie (who passed away at 99), and they could gab on the phone forever. She adored flowers and kept potted plants in her beloved bay window until the end. We talked about flowers in every phone call; when we skyped, I would show her my flowers indoors and out. One of my favorite memories will always be walking with her through her small town in central Wisconsin as she carried scissors and “pruned” the lilacs along the way by cutting off blooms and taking them home.

So much of me is just like her. We shared a love of bright colors, although I never shared her affinity for fire engine red or neon pink lipstick. She was STUBBORN and fiercely independent, only giving up her car keys and apartment at 95. My grandfather died when I was little, and she lived the next 40+ years on her own. She once told me she never went on a date after his death, that she wasn’t interested in getting married again. I’m sure she was lonely at times, but she never acknowledged it. She did tell me more than once that I better “hurry up” and find a husband so she could meet him. I’m so sorry he won’t get to know you this side of heaven, Grammy, but I promise I will tell him everything about you.💔

Grammy loved music, especially the polka. She traveled all over the upper Midwest with her polka choir for years. Those trips and the music gave her significant joy. She and my grandfather loved to dance the polka, too! Grammy Helen laughed all the time, yet another quality we had in common. I’m convinced her constant laughter is one reason she reached her centennial birthday. She loved to tell funny stories and hear my goofy tales, and she always had a ready quip. She never took herself too seriously, and her self-deprecating humor underscored her humility. I will miss her smile and enthusiastic greetings whenever she realized it was me on the phone. “Hi, AMY!!”

She loved jigsaw puzzles and grand adventures. She never shied away from new experiences, even those outside her comfort zone. In the final two years of her life, Grammy learned how to Skype. (I was SO proud of her and thankful to see her beautiful face!!) She attended her first yoga classes and her first painting class. She rode in a rickshaw with her 100-year-old neighbor…twice! She was unbelievably brave. When my uncle and aunt decided it was safer for her to move into assisted living, she left the town where she lived for 70 years and the county where she spent her whole life. At 95, she started over in an unfamiliar place, making new friends and adjusting to a new routine. Grammy rarely complained, a quality of hers I need to work harder to model.

I never took her for granted, and I always knew our good-bye hugs could be the last ones. She teared up every time I left, so I believe our relationship meant the world to her, too. I am so incredibly grateful for the last 20 years of visits and the opportunity to truly get to know her. She was worth all the effort. I had more time with her than I ever expected. Ultimately, time was a gigantic blessing. Grammy Helen made my world a brighter place, but it’s hard to fathom my world without her.

The day before she died, I was at a loss, unable to focus or concentrate on anything. I turned on the radio and the first song I heard was unfamiliar to me. Over the next 48 hours, with tears streaming down my face, I listened to the same song dozens of times. “Glory to our God who gave us life beyond the grave.”

I love you with my whole heart, Grammy. We will laugh together again. Until then, I hope you’re dancing the polka in heaven.