Monday, October 21, 2013

I will miss you Grandma

Today my grandmother, Amy May Dorn, went to be with the Lord at 91 years of age.  

Grandma Amy 2004
My grandma Amy was loved by so many.  She was a mother of 5, a grandmother of 16, a great-grandmother of 36, and a great-great-grandmother of 2.  Wow!

Some of the Dorn Family - Summer 2006
My grandma Amy will always and forever hold a very special place in my heart.  She impacted me in a very real way and I feel incredibly blessed to have had her in my life.  As I reflect on all the wonderful memories I have of my grandmother, my heart is filled with joy even though today is a sad day.

As a child, I loved getting to spend time in the summers with Grandma on the farm.  I loved that small, yellow house in the country.  The rolling hills, the large, old trees, Grandma's beautiful garden, the barn and sheds that had all sorts of hidden treasures to be found, the playground equipment in the yard, all the animals running around, and the peaceful, secure feeling I had when I was there.  But the best part of my summers on that farm was spending time with Grandma Amy.

My grandma loved me.  And I knew it without a doubt.  She didn't show her love by buying me fancy toys or taking me to expensive places.  She showed her love by spending quality, undivided time with me, telling me she was proud of me, giving the best Grandma-hugs in the world, challenging me to always do my best and through lots of yummy food.

Grandma Amy would play cards (our favorite was Rummi) with me for hours and hours.  We would keep score and I loved when I would beat her!  I also loved that she would keep playing rounds until I was able to beat her.  The time we spent playing cards together is something I will always cherish.  I'm sure my Grandma had a list of 100 things she should be getting accomplished instead but I never felt like she had anywhere to be other than right there in the moment spending time with me.  That is a lesson I need to learn with my own kids.  I often get too busy and am too focused on crossing the items off on my to-do list to spend one-on-one quality time with my children.  Instead I need to take advantage of those special moments and make my children feel like the most loved and important people in the world.  Grandma was sure able to do that!  

Another favorite activity Grandma and I had was making cookies together.  All sorts of cookies, sometimes more than one kind in a day.  My grandma liked to bake and I loved watching her in the kitchen. She enjoyed making yummy treats and having others enjoy the food she made.  Part of my love for baking and cooking for others stems from her, I am sure of that.

I also liked doing chores with Grandma Amy.  I remember as a young child singing along to Patsy Cline tapes as we would clean her dining room and do house chores.  We would also get the outside chores done together and I thought it was so much fun to do these things that I didn't get to do in my everyday life.  We would collect chicken eggs, garden, and feed all the animals.  My grandma was a huge animal lover.  She always had some type of critter she was caring for.  When I was young, I remember the peacocks walking around, sometimes turkeys lurking about, a dog here and there, horses, cows and chickens.  Later in her life, Grandma had a dog named Joey who truly was her very best friend.
Grandma Amy, Joey and I - May 2008
But although she loved animals, she did not like raccoons or opossums that were up to no good and killing her chickens, eating the cat food or ruining her garden. short, sweet little Grandma Amy would take care of business.  I remember on more than one occasion Grandma getting up in the middle of the night because she could hear those pesky creatures out in the yard.  She would go get her shotgun which was tucked away in the old armoire in her bedroom and would handle the situation.  She didn't stop there though.  In the morning, she would get out the bathroom scale and weigh them just to see if she could break her record.   This, of course, was devastating for me but showed me how independent, strong willed, protective, and fierce my sweet Grandma really was.

Grandma Amy was infamous for wrapping Christmas presents in boxes other than what the item was to keep you guessing for as long as possible.  Grandma never had much money but her gifts were always thoughtful and meaningful.  I remember one Christmas, my grandma got everyone their favorite food item.  I believe mine was a box of Macaroni and Cheese, my Dad got his favorite - Cowboy Cookies, and my cousin Stephanie got a jar of olives.

I'll never forget when Paul and I moved to Arizona right out of college and I was so homesick.  I was struggling to find my new identity and figure out where I belonged so far from home.  My grandma Amy and I became pen pals at that time.  She would write to me and tell me stories about when she and my grandpa were stationed at different locations across the United States.  She let me know that she survived and I would too.  She let me know it was going to be OK and that she loved me and was keeping me in her thoughts and prayers.  These actions and her caring words meant so much to me and did help me get through that difficult transition.

I have so many more memories of my grandma I will never forget.  My grandma was sure she was going to win the Grand Prize from Publisher's Clearing House.  She would kill snakes with a shovel.  Grandma was a very hard worker.  She loved kids so much.  My grandma believed in Jesus.  Grandma had diabetes and when I was a child she would let me pick the spot where she would give her insulin injection. She was a good story teller and I enjoyed listening to true stories about her past and her life.  My grandma always took very good care of her home and her things.  Grandma needed to sit on pillows to see over the steering wheel in her car.  My grandma had a big heart and loved her family.

Myself, Tom, Celia, John and Grandma Amy - Branson, MO - 1996
When Grandma wasn't able to handle everything on the farm anymore, her children suggested she move to town.  My grandma moved to a trailer home which she lived in until she had to move to the nursing home when she could no longer take care of herself as well as she needed to.  She was battling dementia/Alzheimer's and unfortunately the disease was winning.  Her memories started to fade and slowly she wasn't able to remember who her family was, where she was, and didn't enjoy life as much as she used to. This was obviously very difficult for all of us that loved her.  We did our best to show her we still loved her and cared for her.  My family who lived close did a marvelous job of making sure the day to day tasks were being handled, that she always had familiar items to make her comfortable, that her room was decorated with love, and that she had a hand to hold on difficult days.

I'm grateful Grandma had such a big, supportive family who could provide all of this love and care.  Family is so important.  In good times and in bad.  My grandma knew that and I believe that is part of her legacy.  My grandma has shown me that we have to love and support our families, we have to show children that they are loved and valued, we should always work hard, we need to be kind to animals, that nothing shows we care more than lots of food, and that a hug goes a long, long way.

I love you Grandma and will miss you.  

Grandma and I - July 2004

Grandma Amy and Alexa - August 2012 - Grandma's 90th Birthday
Myself, Grandma and John - October 2013 - 1 week before Grandma's passing

1 comment:

  1. So sorry for you and your family Sara. Most Grandmas are AWESOME. Mine was my best friend. You are such a good writer! Judy L Ray