9 Things I Learned from My Grandma

candy jarToday is the day after Memorial Day. Two days ago, the day before our National Holiday, we received some news on our way to church. My husband’s grandma was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and was given 2-4 weeks to live. And yesterday, ironically, on the day we honor the legacies of our loved ones who have passed on, we talked for the last time to someone we hope never to forget!

I know for certain that she wouldn’t want this to be a sad (sniff sniff) blog post. Instead, I think she would want me to hold close the memories of the time we shared with her! But in honor of her legacy, I felt to hold a candle to some of life’s little lessons I have learned from her along the way, and maybe, it may become a part of my own legacy.

1. A kitchen is always “sweeter” with a candy jar

My husband long remembers the jar… always filled full and waiting for little hands who were on a visit to Grandma’s. And now, we are the proud inheritors of the candy jar. I continue to carry on the legacy with my own children- although I don’t feel I can keep it stocked fast enough 🙂 But I think the deeper lesson here is that a little candy pushes out the bad, brings a lot of smiles, and reminds some little kids that they are loved!

2. Always wash the dishes immediately after every meal!

She was never one to dittle dattle…so get to work. Why wait, if there is work to be done, do it immediately so that the rest of the time can be enjoyed together. And she was right! When she came over dishes were done in no time and we were able to settle down together for a mean game of rummy cube which she always won!

3. Don’t take modern conveniences lightly

I’ll be honest…I despise dishes! And I can honestly say I never saw a more cheerful dishwasher!  On the farm growing up she had to haul the water up to the house. And that is how she would do her dishes or wash the clothes. She never used the dishwasher as long as I have known her. She said that she was so grateful to finally have running water that she would never complain about washing dishes by hand. And she never has…

4. Never waste anything

No joking here, but grandma would save everything! What I would term as garbage was stored away for some practical use. Seriously, I have seen her make purses out of plastic containers or scraps of materials into baby doll quilts. Nothing went unused and amazingly she never wanted for anything…she always seemed to find what she needed from what she already had.

5. The best way to show you love someone is by giving your time

She never was blessed with riches but she was blessed with an amazing ability to sew. She would spend hours piecing together aprons, quilts, clothes or bags. And up until 3 years ago at 88 years old…every grand kid and great grand kid received a homemade Christmas present. When I think of the time year after year she took for all of us, I am filled with joy!

6. Be patient in all things

When my mother-in-law was just 8 years old, Grandma’s husband died. She has been alone for over 45 years. That is a horribly long time to be away from the man you love, yet she has patiently waited to be with him again.

7. There’s always room for dessert!

When my husband was little he said he remembers a time when they were eating over at Grandma’s. He didn’t finish his meal claiming to be full. But when the dessert was brought out he was ready to fill his plate. His mom asked him why he wanted dessert when he was already full. Grandma stepped in and saved the day, “Susan, there is always room for dessert!” And so is the motto in our house! And needless to say we follow this rule to a T!

8.0Find joy in what matters most

She found joy in life’s little treasures. Even last night, the fact that we held up the candy jar for her to see brought her so much joy she could hardly explain it. It made me ask myself, do I take the time to find joy in the little things and most importantly my loved ones? Pretty ironic but not coincidental that her middle name is Joy. And so importantly was this legacy that we felt to pass on this simple name to my daughter! Our own reminder of finding joy.

9. Not my will but Thine

This is the last lesson and yet the most powerful. “Death comes unexpectedly” so the preacher from Pollyanna proclaims! And it does and will for each of us. But if it is one thing I won’t forget after visiting with her last night is that Grandma let Jesus take the wheel a long time ago. She did when she lost her husband, and when she raised four children, and even now when she has submitted to the fact that it is her time to go.



Grandma, farewell for just a while. Don’t forget your promise that you would be there to help my kids along life’s journey with your tap tap tap on their shoulder. You’ll never stop looking out for us. Until we meet again!

PS: We will not always be able to have those we care about with us here on this earth, so I encourage each of our readers to take a minute and write down the memories and legacies of those they love.


This post first appeared first on Real Imprints.