The banner said INSPIRATION and has this image of my Grandmother, Margaret Thone, on it. The banner was hanging from the brick walls of my church, Trinity Lutheran Church, in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Grandma died on Saturday, November 24th at 105-1/2 years old. She has inspired and taught me about the beauty of consistency – partly because of her longevity – I had 50 consistent years of Grandma’s presence. Every Christmas Eve we’d go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. (Grandpa Thone’s house, too – he built it.) We lit Christmas Eve candles at their church service and ate Swedish meatballs, potatoes and lefse together as family.
After my Grandfather’s death, I visited Grandma on Thursday evenings – we likened it to Tuesday’s with Morrie and would laugh because we enjoyed our dinners together and our talks. We both knew we had something special. We’d talk religion – “I just don’t think it would change anything for me – even if He was married.” I remember Grandma saying after the DaVinci Code came out and we ended up talking about the movie and the hot topic of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We’d talk politics,“Who you gonna vote for Jody?…you are going to vote, of course…right?” We’d talk The Minnesota Twins, “Good game last night…did you watch?” She stayed up on all the current news and we stayed current with each other.
When Grandma turned 97 we started the tradition of going to Matt’s Bar which was located in her old neighborhood near Lake Nokomis. We called ourselves Wild and Crazy Women these evenings, laughing as we walked into the bar to have Juicy-Lucy’s (a burger with cheese inside) french fries and a beer. I was thrilled to be out on the town with her! As she turned 100 we stayed in for our wild celebration and started to bring her the Juicy-Lucy, French Fries and a mini Corona beer for her birthday celebration. My brother Jeff joined in and sometimes my kids.
After 100 years… she started to slow down. She still enjoyed our talks and walks outside to see the flowers and as she got weaker a wheel-chair ride around the block. I started to bring her tea and sometimes something special to do – like play the hand-harp or look at pictures of my garden. Grandma taught me consistency of spirit and belief. She kept on living…slower but vibrant. Last week I visited her after a night-time fall resulting in a slight fracture in her hip and lots of pain. I was able to hold her hand, her shoulder and then cradle her face gently in my hands as I now prayed for her to “let go” of her body and let her consistent spirit return home.
I saw my father’s face in her face.
I told her I loved her.
I told her it was okay to go.
I told her good-bye.
This week I celebrate my Grandmother, I celebrate Consistency of Spirit, I celebrate two Wild and Crazy Women, I celebrate life.