In Memory of Grandma: The Post Meant to Go Unpublished

I often write posts that go unpublished. The post below (titled “April 2012”) was one I wrote last year after my Grandma Dicke broke her hip and was transferred to Edmonton for surgery. As a way to process, I wrote that post after returning home from visiting her at the hospital.

You see, just days before she broke her hip, she shared Easter with our family.  During our Easter visit, my heart was heavy with the need to photograph my Grandma with her much-loved and well-read bible. I felt an urgency to photograph her.

Together, we captured this photo…

Grandma’s Hands: These are the beautiful hands of my Grandma. These hands have carried pails of milk, worked the field, prepared many home-cooked meals, and rocked babies to sleep. But above all, these hands trace the words within her well-worn and much-loved bible which she reads daily. The living word has shaped her life for all of her days. I’ve wanted this photo for years and I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

Grandmas Hands web

It is with a sad heart that I tell you my Grandmother passed away on December 2nd just a couple of hours before the sun rose once again. She was surrounded by love and prayers.

Grandma Hazel Dicke was 96. Ninety-six years full of loving, giving, and sharing will be remembered today and in the days to come by all who loved her. She was the strongest, most selfless Woman I have every known. She has left a great legacy and has passed down treasured and priceless lessons of faith, devotion, kindness, perseverance, and generosity to all who knew her. I count all of us within her family, very blessed that she was our wise Matriarch. I have no doubt she is reunited with her husband and daughter in glory now. I pray for my Aunts and Uncles, and My Mom and Dad as they come to terms with the loss of their beloved Mom. Along with her entire huge-full-of-love family and her trusted friends…may you find peace within your memories as well.

No more pain.

No more longing.

Just peace.

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Grandmas Hands3 web

Grandmas Hands8 web

I never meant the post below to be published; however, this morning as I was going over photos of her, and listening to her favourite hymns through tears…I realized that one of my most cherished memories of her was during the days I read her bible to her while she recovered in the hospital.

I love you Grandma. Thank you for teaching me that a woman of grace is one who always gives more than she takes and does so with a grateful heart.

It seems fitting to honour her memory with words written when I felt closest to her beautiful spirit….

Unpublished post written April, 2012:

I walked quietly into my Grandmother’s hospital room. It had been three day since I had last saw her but it felt like weeks. Just three days ago, my Grandma had come out of surgery to repair her broken hip.  This surgery was cause for concern as Grandma would soon be 95. The curtain surrounding my Grandma’s bed was drawn, and the first person I saw was my Father sitting on a stiff chair in a patch of sunshine in the corner of the room. My Dad smiled at me and with his smile my spirit calmed.

“Hi” I said quietly to Dad. As I came closer, I saw my little sister Brenda sitting quietly on the side of the hospital bed . I didn’t realize how much I missed her until the exact moment we made eye contact. We exchanged smiles and with the smiles there were words that remained unsaid but understood.

My eyes scanned to the right, finding my Grandma who sat in a wheel chair with her eyes closed. Grandma opened her eyes slightly as I approached, forcing a weak smile through her pain.

Grandma wasn’t the same as she was just three days ago. It shocked me how the pain wore across her usually serene face. You have aged sweet Grandma…I thought.

I visited quietly with my sister and Dad as Grandma dozed in her wheel chair.  We caught up on one another’s life and then let the silence settle comfortably between us.

My Dad and sister slipped out of the room to visit another friend in the hospital and left me sitting across from Grandma. I remarked inwardly at her amazing strength. Her eyes fluttered open and found their way to mine.

“Do you want me to read your bible to you Grandma?” I asked. Grandma nodded with a smile.

I picked up her well-worn bible. It resembled a mushroom after years of daily reading. It was well-loved just like our Grandma.

“What chapter would you like me to read to you?” I asked.

“Psalms is my favourite” Grandma said longingly as she stared out the window.

I fumbled through the tattered thin pages as the smells of worn leather, gingerbread cookies and tea wafted into my memories as though they were woven within the sacred book. I sighed with relief when I found Psalms as I knew Grandma would start to question how often I actually read my own bible if I had taken even a second longer.

I steadied my quavering voice and recited the scripture of Psalms. Focussing intently on the words, I read carefully to Grandma ensuring my voice rose and dipped in the correct areas as to bring the words she loved to life. I was also intently aware that Grandma would know if I messed up any part of the scripture.

I finally looked up after reading a few chapters and gasped aloud as my eyes focussed on Grandma’s face. Never had a more peaceful expression settled upon a lovelier face. Just a few minutes before her face was wracked with pain, and now it was as if she had fallen to sleep during a children’s Christmas concert. Her face wore an expression of understanding, gratitude, love and appreciation.

I continued reading through Psalms and Proverbs while she listened intently and peacefully. As I was reading through the scripture, I realized almost every page had a passage underlined. The living word is my Grandma’s guide to life and her faith shines through her actions.

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Rest now my dear Grandma, I will be back tomorrow to read to you once again.

Love always, Chrissy

1976 Chrissy
Me and Grandma, 1976