Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Tribute to my Grandma

On Sunday morning my Dad called me to tell me my Grandma (my Mom’s Mom) had died. My Grandma was 82 and healthy as can be. She died of an apparent heart attack, but seemed to die very peacefully.

I wasn’t able to go back to Minnesota for the funeral, and didn’t write anything for her funeral, so I thought I would make a little eulogy here instead.

Well, let me start with the picture. This is the last picture I took with Grandma before I came here. She and the rest of my family came to a “sending service” our church did for us on our last Sunday in Minnesota (end of March). After church (an evening service) we all went for ice cream. Left to right: Curtis, me, my Grandma, and my Uncle Rob.

My little sister Becky spoke at the funeral, and I am copying part of what she said as a starting point: My other sister, Katie, is living in Africa right now. After studying abroad in Kenya, she returned home, got married and then moved to Zambia. She and her husband Curtis work with the nonprofit Africa Hope to run an orphanage. Grandma couldn’t have been more proud of Katie and Curtis.

Grandma spent her whole life in the Lutheran church, and mission work was important to her. She watched the newspaper for articles about Africa, and worked with librarians to read Katie and Curtis’s online blog.

Before moving to Zambia, Katie had a nanny position in the Twin Cities. Katie loved bringing the baby over to spend time with Grandma. Grandma adored the baby, and loved giving Katie advice, and telling stories about her own kids at that age. Once again, the feeling was mutual. When Katie left for Zambia, she said one of the things she was going to miss most were her weekly visits with Grandma.”

I loved my almost weekly visits with my Grandma. Some weeks I would take the baby over, and more often I would go over to her house on one of my days off. I would take my Grandma out for lunch, let her cook for me, or take her back to my house and cook for her. We had a lot of fun! As soon as I got the Blog all set up, I brought our laptop over to her house to show her what the Blog looked like, and how to find it. She promised she would read it, and I know she did. She even tried to post a comment once, but got stuck. Even though she wasn't as technologically savy as most of her grandkids, she tried to stay connected in a way that was accessible to us. She did not like using computers or the internet, but she was willing to try so she could read about our life here.

My other grandparents all died when I was young or before I was born. My Grandma really stepped up to her role as our (my sisters and my) only Grandparent. My Grandma always made us feel loved and treasured. I will miss her greatly!


  1. Grandparents are priceless. Sorry for your loss.

  2. Oh Katie, my heart is with you. My only grandparent (Grandma also) passed away last October. I hope you are doing ok. I know it has to be very tough being so far away. You are in my prayers. Remember your Grandma is so proud of you and is watching you from above.

  3. Hey Katie - well you accomplished what no one else could, inlcuding me! You got your Grandma to want to learn the computer and the internet. As we went through the house, I found many folders on learning the internet, and classes she was planning to attend to continue that education. I know your Grandma appreciated those visits from you - she told be often! She also told me how you and Curtis cleaned out her downspouts last year. Thanks for doing that! This year she enlisted me, it was my only "to do" item on her list for me! I'm sorry you could not have been here, but you are doing what you need to be doing! Miss you tons!! - Love UR

  4. Sorry - forgot to mention. If you want - some items (video of service, powerpoint, some pics) from the celebration of Grandma's life can be found at: UR again!

  5. Katie, I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandma. It must be hard to be far away and unable to be with your family right now. I can tell from all your postings and the pictures that the students from the orphanage are so happy and lucky to have you there with them, so hopefully you can take comfort from all the good work you're doing.