Monday, February 9, 2015

good-bye, grandma!

On January 10th, my sweet Grandma, Shirlee Ann Betts Olmsted Thompson, gained her angel wings and returned to heaven.  Oh, how I'm going to miss her!  I have so many memories of her throughout my life and I feel so blessed to have had her for a grandma.  As sad as it is that she is gone from us, I'm happy to know that she is with my grandpa again and that she is free from the physical pain she felt in this life.
As soon as I heard the sad news, I bought a plane ticket so that I could be with my family to celebrate her life.  And I am so glad that I was able to be there for her funeral.  It was a great tribute to this wonderful woman who made her family her number one priority.  That was evident from the many kind words that were spoken of her that weekend.

My aunt set up an awesome display of my grandma's things, and there were so many things that will always make me think of her.
This picture is of my grandma when she was three.  Wasn't she adorable?
I had to take a picture of my grandma's handwriting.  I would recognize her handwriting anywhere. I love it.
One of the best things about being there for her funeral was all the relatives that I got to see that I hadn't seen for years.  It's hard for me to live so far from all my family, and it's sad that it takes a funeral to get everyone together, but it was still so nice to see so much family.  I think it is a neat tribute to my grandma that of her 25 grandchildren, the only one that was not at her funeral was my cousin who is serving a mission.  She made everyone feel like they wanted to make every effort to come and honor her life.

This is my mom holding her two grand babies.  At the same time.  My mom gave a wonderful talk at the funeral.  She had asked my grandma's children and grandchildren to send her their favorite memories of my grandma.  It was so neat to hear about some of the wonderful things that my aunts and uncles and cousins remember about her.  The things that were repeated were of course her cans of Tree Top apple juice, her love of playing games with family, and the fact that she made us all feel like we were her favorite.  I think I will miss her laugh most of all.

This is my dad and my daughter at the cemetery
It was a neat experience to watch my brothers and some of my cousins carrying my grandmother's casket.  It really symbolic somehow.  She really was the piece that brought the family together, from the time these men were young.  And now, here they were, all grown up and working together to help lay her to rest
I love this picture of my aunt and my mom, standing by their mother's casket.  I love that my mom has a bit of a smile.  She said several times, that that week, and her mom's passing, was bittersweet-but heavy on the sweet.  And I know what she meant.
On the back of the funeral program, my mom wrote a beautiful poem to go with this gorgeous picture of my grandma and my cousin's sweet baby.  This photo was taken during my grandma's last few days here on earth, and although I so wish that she had met my baby girl, I know she is watching over all her family from up above now.  Here is the poem:
Hi Great-grandma.  When I saw you at the hospital today, I couldn't help but giggle and coo (a first for me, mom says).  But, I'm so excited for you.  You see, I just left heaven 3 months ago, and I remember how beautiful and wonderful it is.  Great-grandpa is there, anxiously waiting for you and so are Heavenly Father and our big brother Jesus.  Oh, and your mom!  She can hardly wait!  They all love you so much and I'm so happy you get to go home and see them soon.  Thanks for paving the way for me for my earthly journey.  Check in on me now and again.  See you later!
Love, Juni
After the funeral services were over, a bunch of us went back to grandma's house.  It was so great being in that house again, and being there with my cousins and aunts and uncles too.  I have so many memories of being all together in that house growing up, and it had been a long time since we were all together there.  We went through some of my grandma's things, each of us trying to find something special we could keep to remember grandma by.  It was so neat reminiscing with everyone and wondering how we all used to fit in her house for holidays, since it seemed so crowded now.  I had to take some pictures of different things in her house that will always be how I remember it.  (Even though it was a mess that day, because everyone had begun the process of sorting her things, so there were boxes everywhere).

Her movie collection (which she acquired by recording movies off of TV onto VHS tapes, and giving them her own rating) was legendary!
This day was so full of emotions, and one of my favorite days ever!
 I had to include a picture I found of when my grandma met Krew for the first time.  Isn't she beautiful?
We miss you grandma!

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