My Grandma Mac, my last living grandparent, passed away at the age of 88 this past Sunday. My oldest son and I visited her just a week before her passing. She had had a stroke the previous week, and likely another one just that morning, so she wasn’t completely coherent. Before we left, Big J and I told her we loved her and she said, “Thank you.” We were sadly unable to make it to her funeral, but that moment with her was perfect for me. Below are some thoughts I wrote to be shared at her funeral today in my absence. I wanted to also share them here in her honor. I love you, Grandma. Rest In Peace.

My grandma had the best smile. It was big and wide and highlighted perfectly by her bright red lipstick. It was a smile you didn’t catch on camera very often, by her request, but the few pictures I have with that genuine smile are my favorites of her.

I loved her sharp wit and sense of humor. Even the last time we visited her, just less than two weeks ago, my oldest son, Big J, commented on how funny she was. I’m so glad that was one of his last memories of her because it’s how I will always remember her, as well.

She was a humble woman who didn’t like to talk about herself a lot. When I could get her to share stories from her childhood, from meeting Grandpa, and from raising three boys, I could sit and listen for as long as she would talk. I feel such a connection with her now, living in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, and raising my own three boys. I greatly treasure those anecdotes she shared with us.

Grandma loved her family well. She delighted in her granddaughters, treated my husband just like her own grandson, and had the best hugs and smiles for her great-grandchildren. Of all the ways I knew she loved us, her handwritten letters were my favorite. They usually came along with a newspaper clipping or recipe of some kind that showed she was thinking of us and our particular interests. The last one I received just weeks before her passing. I will hold that letter, her words, and her beautiful heart close to mine forever.