Growing up, I remember that the arrival of my grandparents was always a momentous occasion! I think every December we began talking their return, right after they had left our house from a fun Thanksgiving holiday together. Being some of the “long-distance” relatives, usually living out of state, and not always being able to make it to the Kansas farmhouse for Christmas, we had the distinct privilege of spending many Thanksgiving holidays with Grandma and Grandpa Kisby. After Grandpa passed away, Grandma still made valiant treks to get to wherever we were living, often bringing Aunt Daisy along.
I fondly remember the squeaky noise the styrofoam ice-chest would make as they lifted a cooler full of goodies out of the trunk of the car that had made a long trip from Kansas. Joel and I would try to hold back our excitement that kept us from ripping into it right there on the driveway, and to wait patiently as Mom unpacked each item in the kitchen. Mom always acted surprised at each item, and I could never figure that out because we all knew what would be inside — frozen peaches in a recycled Cool-whip container, marked with the date on masking tape on the lid, foiled-wrapped cake, an apple pie, canned green beans, and then, my favorite — graham bread! I treasured Grandma’s famous bread so much that around our house it became known as, “Krista’s graham bread” and everyone knew I better get the last slice! Later, when I went off to college, one of the comforts of home that I missed so much was that graham bread, so Mom got a loaf of it from Grandma, sliced it up, toasted every piece, and then sent it off to Florida to me!
A couple weeks ago, I video skyped with Grandma when she was in the hospital and, through tears, said my “goodbye” to her. But it was when we were home in April that we shared a very special time together. After nearly 5 weeks of time at home, we had to said our farewells as Joel and I headed back to Costa Rica. Mom and I were walking Grandma back into the care center when she asked to stop by the television and sit down for a minute. She said, “I think I’ll need a Kleenex. You know, sometimes your eyes and nose just get all leaky when someone is leaving.” 🙂
Today, again, my eyes and nose are all leaky as, once again, I find myself as one of the “long-distance” relatives. But it is with great joy I think of all my dear family members gathered together to remember her life and I find strength in knowing that, near or far, we are part of the same celebration of the life of a wonderful woman. It is a privilege to be a part of such a beautiful family, lead by the those who walked before us, following God’s simple guiding. May He comfort each of us as we grieve as those who have hope in our great God (1 Thes. 4:13).