Saturday, February 4, 2012

Grandma Irene

Last January, Jesse took me to visit his Grandma. My first impression of her was the quiet voice... wrinkles... blue veined hands...  many years lived. She was 95 years old and very frail looking. Her husband of many decades had passed away several months before, leaving her a widow. I felt it must have been hard being alone for the first time in so many years. But as each person greeted her, she looked so very pleased and happy to see us. When Jesse introduced me as his girlfriend, Irene looked up at me kindly and smiled. Then she gave me a hug as she welcomed me.

It was a delight that her fragility of body never extended to her mind. I listened to her infrequent comments to Paul and the others... each word was purposed; she never spoke sharply or out of turn. In fact, watching the others react to her, and to each other, in her presence, I began to see where my boyfriend's gentle, loving nature had stemmed from. "Ma" was queen of her home and her law was kindness; everyone felt it and everyone obeyed it.

The visit lasted a couple hours, then we donned on our heavy winter coats and shoes and got ready take our leave. Irene bade each of us farewell: as she stood by her door with her walker, she grasped my hand and pulled me to her. She gave me another hug and looked into my eyes. She asked very quietly, "Are you happy?" 

The concern and .... love? ... for me caught me by surprise.. This woman had just met me and she knew only a little bit about me. But I know now that she had been observing me all evening, trying get an idea of what kind of a girl her grandson had chosen to be his girlfriend. And her only question? "Are you happy?" 

It was that way the entire time I knew Irene. She was always kind, always thoughtful. My only wish is that I could have known her a little better. 

January 26th, 2012: Jesse woke me up saying that he had just gotten a phone call. Grandma was not doing well. As soon as I out of bed and dressed, we picked up Jesse's dad from the shop and headed down to Oxbow. As soon as I walked into the room, I felt the vibrancy of her spirit... missing. She lay there, a tiny form on the bed, her raspy breathing filling the room, eyes closed to the world. I don't know how much she was aware of as her three sons and loved ones sat around her. I don't know if she could hear our voices or see us when she half opened her eyes. I think she could sense the love that flowed from us all towards her. I hope she took comfort in it. 

When she passed away, late Saturday evening, there was mourning. We all felt a sense of loss and finality. But there also was a feeling of gratefulness that she was no longer suffering. The woman who loved is experiencing the great mystery of eternal life... eternal existence. We don't know exactly what she is knowing... living... having... right now. But we do know that the world was brightened by Irene Twietmeyer in those 96 years that she walked the earth. 

Thank you, Irene. 


Anonymous said...

I never knew Irene, had never heard her name before now. But if she was here, I would like to thank her for making so many people happy. I can tell from the way she is spoken of that she was an amazing person, and I hope that she knew that. Consolations to the family. I hopes she continues to bring everlasting joy from her home in Heaven.

Naomi T. said...

Thank you, Lee-Amber. :) The good, loving thoughts go a long way!

I am glad you can comment now!

Mountain Mama said...

Very sorry for your loss. You are a beautiful writer!

Naomi T. said...

Thank you. :)