Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Not Lost

Grandma Dora
Thirteen years ago I became a Hendrickson. And along with my husband, came a whole new family. And I have never been more blessed.

Christmas 2014
My introduction to Grandma Dora came before we were married at Easter dinner. I remember her strong hug, the hands rubbing up and down my back, and the whispered words in my ear, "we're so glad you're choosing him." It's a scene that was replayed out many times over the years. Always making me feel like she was the lucky one because I joined the family. When really, I have been substantially blessed to have been in this lady's presence. Back when she was still writing cards and letters, every single one of them included, "I've been talking to the Lord about you..." And I believe she was.

Grandma Dora with son #4 and son #3
Grandma Dora raised her four boys in the Iowa countryside. And the escapades we hear about today are hair curling. Four boys. But they all seemed to turn out well. ;) It cracks me up that she often refers to them by their number rather than their names! As the matriarch of the Hendrickson clan, Grandma Dora often referred to herself as the Queen Bee. 4 sons, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great granddaughter (my count could be off). Beautiful people who love and serve the Lord in a variety of ways. Smart ones who are engineers and librarians. Creative types who are musical and artistic. Kind souls who are teachers and pastors. Brave ones who serve our country and many who travel the world. She leaves quite a legacy.

fall 2013
One legacy is as the Queen of Games. I remember Thanksgiving afternoons spent playing games. Grandma Dora would sit in her chair, asking a question here or there about how the game was played, then BAM! she'd win. Every. Time. Mostly we'd play 10,000 (a dice game), and when Grandma Dora was the score keeper, if you were having trouble getting on the board, she'd draw a worm for you. I'm not sure why a worm, that was before I joined the family. She'd add a smile, or legs as each turn came and went with no points. But usually, the worm did it and the game was on!

Double Dora! 2010
I don't think Grandma Dora ever had a visit with anyone where a dozen photos weren't taken to commemorate the event. She loved spending time with people. Starting with a hug and ending with a hug. And music. When she was moved from her Iowa apartment to a nursing home in Nebraska, it seemed that her biggest concern was who was going to take over playing the organ at church! We tried to visit every month or two, joining her for lunch, bringing puppets to enact the Christmas story, sharing stories and hugs.

spring 2011
Grandma Dora is two months shy of 100. In the last year or so, her strength was fading. At Thanksgiving, she was having a hard time remembering the children's names, but Christmas brought some perkiness back. It seemed like making it through the spring and summer wasn't a stretch after all. We hadn't seen her in few months, so we headed up for a visit on mother's Day. I'm so glad we did. We had a nice visit. She seemed weak, but alert, pleased for our visit, glad for the hugs from the kids. When it was my turn for my good-bye hug, I leaned over her chair gave her as big a squeeze as I could without being able to reach behind her, I said, "we love you very much" and gave her a kiss. Her body has continued to fade, and she passed away this morning. I'm not going to say, "we lost her," because we didn't...

I know where she is now. She's talking with the Lord about us.

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