Thursday, December 6, 2012

Orange Peels & Memories

This is kind of a tangent really. So bear with me.

I've been thinking a lot about my Grandma Shantz, recently. She passed away in Oct 2010, so it's been 2 years now. Something about the holidays always bring her memory back very strong. Perhaps it's because I literally cannot look at anything "Christmas" in my home without seeing her, almost literally. My tree is full of ornaments she gave me (33 & counting), I still use reusable Christmas bags she sewed, my mom carries on the advent tradition that she started, I decorate my table with the embroidered runner she made me...She loved to do holidays "up", that is for sure:-)

And then there is the recent passing of Sarah's baby girl. She was born, loved on, and passed away...her time on earth not nearly long enough. My Grandma lost 2 children, one at 4 days old, and one at 18 years old. When the baby died (his name was Brent)...well, back in those days (1968), they did things differently than they do now, I suppose. My Grandma never got to hold her baby, in fact, she never even got to see him. He was sick (from breathing in amniotic fluid) and taken away to another hospital for treatment, and I believe she never even attended his funeral/burial because she was still in the hospital and they did it right away (partially her choice, at the time). I've been thinking about how torturously awful that must have been for her, and how much different her life might have been if she had got to see him, hold him and say goodbye in a proper way. Of course God has his design in all of our lives, and for a reason, but I still can't help but wonder how her grief and the impact of that might have looked if her situation had been a little more gracious, instead of so cold and harsh. I've been thinking and praying a lot for Sarah in these recent days, and I am so glad that her situation has been much more kind. No less heart wrenching and awful-to-the-core, but she does have some precious memories with her baby, which I am sure offers great comfort, amidst the shattered pieces of her heart and circumstance.

And then that leads me around to the things that we are remembered for, after we are gone. I remember my Grandma for lots of things this season. Tonight I saw this:
And it reminded me of a quote from Sleepless in Seattle. In the movie, the dad is trying to help the son remember his mom after she died. He said "she could peel an one long, curly strip. The whole apple". Well. It's not an apple, and it's not the thing I will remember most, that is for sure, but I'll tell you what -- I can't do this, and I've tried. Brian does it every time. I think it's a talent;-)

It's just one of the little things, that remind of us of the people we love, when they aren't here anymore. Of course we remember the big stuff, but memories are all tied up in the little, insignificant stuff too. Which is why its so important to take note of the little things. They just could be the "big things" one day, when we're looking back on life.

Handmade by my Grandma Shantz, sometime in 2010...labeled for "2012". She left us (all her grandchildren), with ornaments made by her, through the year 2015. It's really special to reveal the latest one with each passing year, and I'm glad my kids are old enough to "get it" now...


  1. funny, I was just telling Mark yesterday how we would get scolded (or whacked with the nearest utensil) if we ever picked at or tried to taste whatever she was cooking:-P Not that her efforts stopped us from doing it...I loved just getting the big reaction from her:-)

    Christmas definitely brings back a flood of memories of her. Actually any holiday does because she took such great joy in preparing for them.

    I miss her alot!:-(

  2. And you're right about Brent. She only ever caught a glimpse of him. Grandpa did his best to describe him for her but that could never be enough. I had the privilege of talking with Grandma and Grandpa about it and hearing about the losses of both their sons firsthand.

    It broke my heart as a mother to hear her broken heart and still does even thinking about it.

    I am so grateful for the recent years of closeness I was able to have with her. She became more than just "Grandma" to me. I could talk to her about anything. She even pulled her first all-nighter with me just sitting and talking together:-) She was truly my one of my very best friends.

  3. I'm so glad you guys got to bond in that way and became so close. Very special, and great memories for you to look back on:-)