Last Wednesday night, my Grandma Ruby, a bright, vibrant, loving woman who could cook the pants off Paula Deen, passed away. My dad was holding her hand.
I am sad because I miss her. Our birthdays are one day apart and that will be hard this year. I am happy because my grandma is now completely healed.
But I now no longer have any living grandparents. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel their influence any more. Today, I just want to write about a few things my Grandma Ruby taught me. Bear with me; I need to do this.
My grandma taught me how to love others. What I mean when I write that is that my grandma taught me about real love. She taught me that love isn’t based on a person’s behavior or whether or not they deserve to be loved. She taught me that real love truly never fails, never gives up, never disappears. I think my brother said it best when talking about Grandma and her 13 grandkids when he said, “She loved us each differently, but she loved us all the same.” My grandma didn’t have a favorite grandchild, but I think if you asked each one of us, you’d find that we all thought we were her favorite because she made us feel that way.
My grandma taught me how to give generously. My grandmother was a collector of “treasures.” She was always and forever finding little things she thought were amazing, but rarely did she keep them to herself. She’d find her treasures and she’d give them away. I have dishes and jewelry and memories of toys, shirts, and various other things my grandmother just gave me. And the thing is, she did it with everyone. My grandma was generous and a treasure wasn’t a treasure unless you could share it.
My grandma taught me the importance of sharing your table. My grandma could cook. Oh my word! If you guys had ever had her peach cobbler, you would have cried! And for years, probably until about the time I graduated from college, she cooked a huge noon meal every day for her “boys.” The boys have changed over the years. Once it was probably all her sons working on the farm, then my dad and uncle, sometimes my brother or another cousin who was working on the farm, or anyone who happened to be around her house and hungry at noon. I don’t know how many people told me they had eaten at my grandmother’s table during her visitation on Friday night. Countless. My grandma knew that shared food and shared conversation around a kitchen table has a way of lifting hearts and ministering to souls.
My grandma taught me about steadfastness and leaving a legacy. My grandmother was strong. If you think I’m strong-willed or determined or stubborn, know I learned it at Ruby’s feet. My grandmother nursed a husband who was dying of cancer. She had only about 40 years of marriage and some 30-plus more of widowhood. She loved him. Always. And she held her family together in the aftermath of his death and helped her boys run the farm. But she also raised her family—two girls and four boys—and they became good, strong Christian people. Farmers, bankers, teachers, mothers, fathers, deacons, school board members, men and women who were well respected in their communities. I don’t know how many people told me that my dad was a good man during my grandma’s visitation and how many said they were there for him. That is a testimony to him and also to the woman who raised him.
I thank God for the almost 33 years I had my grandma with me and for all the lessons she taught me.