Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Loving Memory

While I was sleeping last night, I lost my last grandparent. So today I am feeling sentimental and sad. For numerous reasons (namely that I have spent half my life in Africa), I was never hugely close to my grandparents, but I always loved them and knew they loved me. I have great memories of my Grammy, Elizabeth Louise Coutts (aka Betty Lou or “Bargain Betty”), my Dad’s Mom, who grew up during the Depression and thus always loved a good bargain.

Grammy passed on to me her love of cooking and baking, and Christmas in the States will never be the same without her 35 kinds of homemade cookies and candy spread out over her kitchen table—even up to her 85th Christmas. My recipe binder is full of her favorites, many of them in her sprawling handwriting.

She also was an avid knitter, a skill which she attempted to teach me but was never realistic for someone living in Africa! Her afghans adorned my bed during my childhood, and my babies wore her booties in dozens of colors. She also loved to paint. When I was born, Grammy was thrilled that I had brown eyes, since she had always wanted a brown-eyed child or grandchild, and I was the first. So she painted me a picture of a little brown-eyed girl in a field of daisies, and it hung on my wall until I was 12 years old. Then it was lost in Liberia during the war, and it was the one lost possession that saddened me the most, even though we had lost almost everything.

When we were in the States last year, Grammy gave me another picture of a little girl that she had painted long ago, to make up for the lost one. It was the best Christmas present she could have given me, and now it hangs in Grace and Josiah’s room.

I knew when we left the States last April, that it would probably be the last time I saw her. Just a few weeks ago, however, she was at my parents’ house for dinner and the kids and I were able to talk to her on video Skype, something we had never done with her before. It was almost exactly one week before she fell in the middle of the night, and the head trauma eventually took her life. I praise God that He allowed me to see and talk to her one last time.

Grammy was an avid fan of my blog and read every post, printed out by my Dad, of course, since she wasn’t of the computer generation. So it seems appropriate to honor her here. I’m thankful God blessed me with such a wonderful grandmother, and that she raised such a wonderful son. Wish I could hug you right now, Daddy.

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