I always felt like I was pretty close to GG. I loved mowing her lawn in the summer time. More so, I loved what happened after I finished mowing. Whenever I would get close to being done with the grass, GG would come outside and pull her little table and two chairs out of the garage. By the time I was finished, she would call me to my chair where a glass of Pepsi and my money would be waiting for me. We would sip Pepsi and watch the sun go down, while GG told me stories. Stories from her amazing life.
A lady can get a lot done in over 90 years of living, and GG was one to get things done. She loved her garden and was always out working in it. She was an outstanding cook, her cookie jar was always full. And I've often heard the story about the time she went water skiing when she was in her 70's. And they thought she was too old ;). She was a feisty little thing, and if you told her she couldn't do something, she'd prove you wrong.
I always admired GG's strength. She did hard things all the time, but I never remember her complaining too much. I want to talk about some of her examples of strength. . .
She loved to read, but had glaucoma. Glaucoma isn't kind to old eyes. But that didn't stop her. She would still read with a huge magnifying glass. She read like that all the way up to her last few years when she was practically blind. I remember her telling me how much she loved "Gone With the Wind". I still need to read it, GG dear.
Her husband passed away when he was only 50 from an unexpected heart attack. For almost half her life, she was a widow. After all my visits to her little, brick house, I would always think about how lonely that would be. I think maybe that's why I wandered to her house as often as I did. I hated thinking of her being lonely, even if she didn't admit to it. She learned to live alone and enjoy things alone. She did some traveling too, which makes me smile.
She lived through the Great Depression. She lived through World War I. She lived through Vietnam. She saw it all. When people struggled through the Great Depression, she got her degree at Utah State University. Yep, she graduated from college. Women never did that, it was unheard of. Leave it to GG to prove someone wrong. She was a farmer's wife too. She raised her little family out on the farm, taking care of the home.
The example of her strength that tears me apart the most, is when she chose to live at the Nursing Home. She was too stubborn to allow her family to take care of her. She still completely had her mind, and I know many of the people at the Nursing Home really tested her patience. She hated it there. She hated having to sit in that miserable little room. I wish I would have visited her there more.
The last few months of her life, she really went downhill. I remember feeling like I really needed to drive from Logan to Preston some afternoon to visit her. So I did once. The whole time she was pretty bitter. She kept talking about how she was ready to go. She kept saying things that didn't make sense, and GG had always made sense before. When I gave her a hug good bye, she softened up and told me how good it was to see me and she asked me to come back again soon. As I left she waved her wrinkled hand at me and said in her sweet voice, "Bye now." She always said that when you left. It was like she was saying bye, but not for good. Like there would always be a next time.
I saw her one last time after that visit before she died. My mom called me and said she wasn't doing too good and they were basically waiting for her to die. It broke my heart, but at the same time, I had to be happy for her because she was sick of living life with no meaning. She was ready to see her husband again after being apart so long. I knew it was a happy thing for her. The only reason she lived so long I think, is because she wanted to die so bad in her later years. Our family paid her a visit that weekend, and it wasn't the normal GG we went to visit. She didn't make any sense at all. She was looking around the whole time as if she was lost. She kept talking about how Weldon (her husband) came to tell her it was time to go with him. As our family sat there, I fought back tears seeing this lady I loved so much being so confused and lost. But as we got up to go, the same thing happened that always does. For one small moment, our GG came back as she gave us her wave and said, "Bye now." And I know that she was saying bye right then, but not for good. There will be a next time, and a very happy next time it will be.
Our family's Pepsi Toast in honor of GG at her viewing. I bet she loved that.