3.04.2011

My Grandma Freestone

Thursday night I got a call from my mom saying my grandma was pretty sick.  I didn't think much of it.  Sometimes those you love seem immortal.  I learned differently when I received another phone call from my mom at about 3:30 saying my grandma had passed away.  It came as quite a shock.  I almost didn't know how to react or how to feel.  I laid in bed stunned.  I began to reflect on all the good memories of her and a flood of emotion ran over me.  I will miss this woman.  Please indulge me as I share some stories and pictures (in a sort of tangent, random sort of way) from the past week, as we've celebrated the life of my grandma and the person she was.  

My grandma loved color.  Her carpet was teal, her couches burgandy, cupboards and bathroom fixtures pink.  Brightly colored butterflies and hummingbirds adorned her refrigerator and windows.  Her clothes followed similar suit and she loved fabrics from South America because they were bright and colorful.  She always wore dresses and she made most of them.  They were a sort of moo-moo type of style that hit her mid calf.  She had such nice calves for a grandma.  I used to tease her that I wished I had legs as nice as hers.  She also made her own purses- always out of fabric from South America.  The purses had a little loop on them that allowed her to carry it on her wrist along with her keys which were always on a neon colored spiral keychain.  Something my grandfather said sums up her love for color, "...grandma's dresses were flowery and colorful.  Hummingbirds, butterflies.  There were no earth colors.  She hated brown."

She also loved sandals, especially flip flops!  You'd find pairs of them all over the house.  And I always knew where grandma was because I could hear the flip and the flop of her sandals.

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My grandma was a packrat.  She loved knick knacks and had a glass cabinet full of figurines and dolls.  When I was young, she'd open up the cabinet and one by one show us each item inside along with the sound each animal figurine made.  Grandma loved QVC.  She loved Trader Joes and Costco and the health food store.  I loved going shopping with her.  It was my bonding moment with her.  And she'd usually strike up several conversations with random people as we ran our errands.  "This is my oldest granddaughter...", she'd often begin, "isn't she beautiful?".  The conversation usually included talk about the number of grandchildren she had and how I came from a family of 6 girls, 2 boys.  Occasionally she'd give people pointers on how to pick out a good cantelope or something.  And if there were any latinos around, she'd always find a way to strike up some sort of conversation in spanish.  

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My grandma was an excellent seamstress.  But her speciality was quilting.  She would take colors and patterns that I'd never dream of putting together, but somehow they'd always looked beautiful.  She has made a quilt for each and everyone of her grandchildren.  (I think the count is at 37).  And that's not all, she taught us and tied many of the quilts with us.  What treasured memories!  And that's still not all.  She made each grandchild that got married in the temple another quilt.  From what I understand, she spent approximately 90+ hours making each quilt.  Mine is completely handstitched.

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My grandma loved music.  And she was very talented musically.  She had such small hands, yet somehow she managed to play piano and organ so well!  I remember her playing the piano for primary at church and I also remember her showing me the correct way to play different songs.  She also felt very strongly about having uplifting music in her home and not having music that she felt would drive away the spirit of the Lord.  Below is a picture of my grandma's porch.  It has since changed, but I have fond memories of that porch.  We used to lie in a hammock together and sing songs about a girl named Alice that had a body like a toothpick but a head like a tack, songs about bullfrogs, and of coarse, primary songs.

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My grandma was not much of a house cleaner.  There were always things out on her counter tops.  But there never seemed to be any self consciousness about her home.  She never invited people into her home and apologized about a mess.  She just welcomed people in and made them feel comfortable.  There was something about her lack of self consciousness that made others insecurities melt away.  My sister made the comment that there was never anyone left out with grandma there.  It also didn't hurt that she was a great cook and she usually ended up feeding any guests.  She's still remembered for her enchiladas and her blueberry pancakes.  I can think of other dishes in addition to these that I miss.

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A few random grandma memories/quotes-

I was working for Freestone Chiropractic. My grandma came in and I overheard bits and pieces of the conversation she was having with Dr. Hudson (the chiropractor there). I was helping a patient, but once I was finished, she came to me and initiated the same conversation she'd had with him.
G-ma: We went and saw Mousetrap last night. That is not a movie for children!
Me: Oh really. Why not?
G-ma: A mouse runs down a woman's blouse and a man reaches down after it. I stood up in the theatre and said (my grandma in retelling the story has her hands on her hips at this point) "This is not a movie for kids!"
Me: laughter
G-ma: If they're going to put sex in a movie, at least they can make it exciting.

"You better be careful or you might fall off of those toothpicks!" (she'd say this whenever she saw one of us wearing short shorts or immodest clothing)  She wasn't one to sit around and let others take the wrong path in life without speaking up.  She was opinionated and freely gave it and I'm convinced that the core of this expression was always love.

Here's a few pictures from the past week and funeral-

Family Home Evening that Monday following my grandma's death-

What better place to discuss hard things such as death and the plan that God has for our time here on earth than in the context of the family.  My grandfather taught his grandchildren where grandma is and talked of how he's been comforted by the Holy Spirit.

"I know a lot of you have grieved…I know some of you are taking it hard, but I think if grandma was to be here and would say something to you, she would say, 'don't, because when you grieve it makes it hard on me and i'm there and I can't come back'.  So you're really hurting her by all the crying.  I know we've got to be lonesome.  I'm lonesome as I can be.  She's not coming back here…but she's graduated.  I prefer that word.  She's graduated to another level." - Grandfather Freestone

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The viewing-

I think one of the most tender moments was to see my sister's kids, Sadie and Payson.  They lingered at the coffin with looks of confusion.  I knelt down next to Sadie.  This is the second death that they've had to experience in the past year.  With the most genuine look of concern she said, "She's dead."  "Yes...she is," I said.  And then she repeated herself, "Grandma Freestone... she died."  It was one of those moments that you feel so inferior at attempting to explain death.  I did my best at trying to explain that grandma's spirit is in heaven...that the real grandma is in heaven with Jesus and that this body is more like some clothes that the real grandma Freestone put on.  I felt like I was over explaining.  How do you explain death to a child?
Later that night, Sadie saw my grandma's sister, Mary Louise Flake.  "Grandma!", she yelled and ran to her and grabbed her hand only to find that it wasn't really grandma.

Another tender moment was after the viewing when we kneeled as a family and my grandfather offered a prayer thanking God for grandma and for the knowledge of the plan of salvation.

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After the viewing, a lot of us grandkids went out for Nielson's Frozen Custard (one of my grandma's favorites).  I think she would've been happy to see her family just loving each other and enjoying each other's company.

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The funeral-

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All of the girl grandkids sang "The Lord Is My Shepherd".  I'm sure grandma loved it.

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There was a flower for each grandchild to take and press.

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6 comments :

  1. What a beautiful post! Your grandma and my mom are so alike in so many ways! Their love of color, their dislike for brown, their music. I think I inherited their packrat and counter clutter traits, I'm afraid. :)

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  2. This is amazing. Great work.

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  3. Grandfather said, "That's good". We enjoyed watching it and reading what you wrote. Thanks.

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  4. So Sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful post. Thank you.

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  5. What a beautiful tribute. Love you Meesh.

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  6. A most appropriate memoir for a most wonderful woman. I will miss Grandma Freestone...I always thought of her as mine too :)

    Thoughts and prayers with your family.
    Lots of love,
    Adri

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