It’s been three plus weeks since we moved. Life has been interrupted too many times for me to keep a grip.
But I think we’re on level ground now. I think.
Sometimes life is like that. Even in Elmo, Utah.
The most profound moment of these weeks has been the interruption of a mortal life in the passing of my grandmother on June 7th.
We all count it as providential that we celebrated Grandma Nina’s 94th birthday just a few weeks before she fell and broke her pelvis. It was just over two days after the fall that her body was ready to relinquish her spirit and allow her to go home. We are all so happy for her that she is now with Grandpa Charlie and daughter, Linda Fay a.k.a. “Little Sister”, who died when she was 4 months old.
Grandma Nina was Southern through and through. She, her husband and 3 of her 5 sons came to Utah in 1959. In coming to the west, they missed the Civil Rights movement that went on in the 1960’s South. This meant that Grandma held true to some not-so-adjusted-to-the-times views on race. And we loved her for it. That’s just the way she was.
She was a quilter. The best I’ve ever heard of. She couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t quilt and kept it up until she fell and broke her ribs a few months ago.
Grandma Nina’s quilts have hung in prominent places all over Utah as works of art. She was honored with the second-only Governor’s Folk Art Award in 1983 for her contribution to the cultural heritage of Utah.
She was an amazing cook, an avid Utah Jazz fan, a wonderful gardener, a pioneer in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to her posterity, she still had her Georgia accent after 51 years in Utah, and she loved all who were part of her family–whether by blood or in law.
In her quilting, she had a knack for finding a small piece of fabric that didn’t look like much by itself but could see that when pieced with another it took on a new life. Like her quilts, throughout her life she stitched a patchwork of people together–her family. She did this by finding ways to depend on us, stitching us to her. She would find what she saw as our strengths and did her best to highlight them (sometimes to our dismay: “Grandma, can I do that for you?” “Oh no that’s okay, Emilie can do it when she comes.”)
Over the past few months Grandma has stitched me to her in a small way by asking me to roll her hair and do other beauty maintenance tasks with/for her. I’m so grateful for those moments. I’m even grateful for her detail, by detail, by detail instruction. That was Grandma.
We were her quilt of life.
My mom, dad, and sister just returned from accompanying Grandma’s body to be buried next to Grandpa and Linda Fay’s graves in Milledgeville, Georgia.
It was the first time in many years that Grandma’s five sons and their wives have been together.
I miss her in body, but feel her in spirit. I’m so grateful to know where she is and that I will see her and Grandpa again. I’m anxious to hear about all that she has learned and know she will have much to teach me.
(Photos are all my dad’s.)