Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love, Grammy

That's how she always signed her little notes to us and oh how it endeared her to me. New Years Eve was bitter-sweet for us. Bitter because Shane's sweet grandmother passed away and we knew how much we would miss her light in our life. Sweet because we knew there were many on the other side who had been missing her too and so many others she had not yet met that would now get to feel of her love. That is without a doubt the greatest thing I admired about Grammy Nelson...her ability to love so freely and sincerely. I haven't had a grandmother since I was six and Joyce filled that void in such a profound way that I truly felt as if she were my own and not just my grandmother-in-law. Shane and I weren't really planning on staying up until midnight that night, but when we got the call that she had passed at about 10:30, we ended up reminiscing and writing our thoughts about Joyce to ring in the new year. Here are a few things I wrote that night which reiterate some of what I wrote above:

"I remember when I first met her. Shane and I were dating and had volunteered to drive her to Teton (Idaho), the home she loved so dearly. From the very moment I met her I felt completely loved. There are so many incredible qualities that she possessed, but this is the one that stood out the most. The instant anyone came in contact with Joyce, they felt uplifted and so important. This is something that I hope I can possess one day. To feel that must be just a taste of what it must be like to meet the Savior for the first time. I can scarcely imagine how wonderful that moment will be if it is greater than how I felt around Joyce. I am so happy that she is experiencing exactly what that feels like at this very moment."

That night, my mind kept going back to the scriptures in Moroni 7 about charity (45-47 in particular). She was definitely one who was "found possessed of it at the last day". Everything in these scriptures describes all that Joyce stood for. It reminded me of a comment Shane made at the Nelson family reunion last summer. Referring to how kind and accepting Grandma is, he said, "I think she would probably even invite the devil himself in and tell someone to go down and get a bottle of cherries to share with him ." She got a kick out of that.

She was very aptly named Joyce...she felt and radiated joy, even in the simplest of things. I remember a time we were in Island Park with her and we were watching some little mountain bluebirds chase each other from fence post to fence post. She quietly watched with the biggest smile on her face and would occasionally giggle at them. She was a great example of stopping and smelling the roses. As we were talking about her name, we realized that Jayne's name is a perfect combination of Joyce and Wayne (Shane's grandfather). If you read in the past about why we gave Jayne her name, you'll remember there was a big list of reasons. Too bad we didn't think of the combination right away, but I am glad we realized it now. I truly hope Jayne can learn and grow from the stories she hears about all those whose names she bears.

As we went to bed that night, our hearts were full of gratitude. Gratitude knowing that Grandma fought the good fight and lived an extraordinary life. She epitomized a good and faithful servant. Gratitude that Joyce and Wayne were reunited after 20 years. Shane smiled and said that she must have not wanted to go into another year without him...she got to kiss him at midnight :) And finally, we felt gratitude to have the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of the plan of happiness.

These were taken the last time we visited her. I am so grateful for all of the sweet pictures we have of her with our kids. If you want, you can see some of them here and here . One of her greatest joys was children, especially her grandchildren. One of Shane's cousins wrote (on her blog) that during the funeral, Grammy was probably too modest to be in the chapel listening to all of the wonderful things everyone said about her. She would much rather have been in the nursery with the children. I love that thought (thanks Emily). I think that is exactly where she was.