Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thankful for Sweet Grandma Butters

My Grandma Butters passed away yesterday.  She was just 3 days shy of turning 94 years old.
She lived a long and wonderful life.
  I will miss her terribly.
It's been amazing to always have her around to celebrate with and commiserate with.
She has ALWAYS been here for me.
  I don't know how to be without her.
I will miss her vibrant personality, her spitfire ways, her spunkiness and wit.

(Pic taken June 2009-  Mom, Me, Grandma, Laila)
It was great to be at her home yesterday and pay my last respects.  I petted her silky skin.  Laila knelt by her bed. We cried.   Grandma just looked like she was peacefully sleeping.  A neighbor friend came in and was crying over Eulala.  Laila piped up, indicating grandma, "You know I am named after her,  'cept without the Eu."  So even though Eulala is gone, we have our little Laila as a constant reminder.
It was really fitting to find a diet pepsi in grandma's fridge, pour 3 glasses, and raise a toast to her with my sisters and say, "Sweet Aloha" Grandma.  Then I came home and made some Ginger Cream cookies in her honor.
Grandma always asked if I would sing at her funeral. ( I sang at my Grandpa Butters funeral) I said of course I would.    Now I'm sad, because I won't even BE to the funeral.  We will be off with our family of 7 making memories on a, long ago planned, caribbean cruise.  We will have our own memorial to honor Grandma while we are away. I know she would want us to go and have fun.  "Kick up your heels" was her motto! But.....I'm still sad.

I posted this last year on her birthday, and would like to dedicate it to her again this  year as some of my memories at her passing.

My Grandma is 93 years old....93! I know I've been writing a lot about age lately, but people around me keep having birthdays....what's up with that?

Grandpa passed away 16 years ago and Grandma still lives alone in the home they built in the 1950's. It's a beautiful home with a swimming pool in the back yard that I have played in, all summer long, for my entire life! We always shared the greatest food around the swimming pool, especially at the 4 summer holidays: Memorial day, 4th of July, Pioneer day and Labor Day. These are the "Holy Holidays" for me, and they wouldn't be the same without Grandma and her pool.

A fond memory I have as a child, is swimming in the pool on a hot summer day and Grandma bringing out hot out of the oven, raisin oatmeal cookies. I recall eating as many of these as I wanted, standing in the pool with the chlorine water dripping into my mouth, mixed with the hot cookie. MMMM... it just makes me smile, even now.

My Grandma is an amazing woman. I know she had an entire life before I was born, but this is what I know about her.

Grandma has always been a great dresser! She sang in a quartet and had traveled all over the Mountain-West putting on shows. She wore sparkly, glamorous costumes. She always looked so put together with the perfect hair, makeup and jewelry. Grandma also danced with my Grandpa and did floor shows and put on dance festivals for the church. I loved watching them waltz around and laugh and gaze at each other. "Let me call you sweetheart," was their theme song.

I inherited these quartet/dance costumes about 20 years ago. For one of our cruises, we (Me, Karen and Christine) wore her 60 's outfits for the formal dinner time. -- it was so fun to pretend to be Eulala.

Grandma was choir director in her ward for over 40 years-- talk about a life time calling. She had a grand ward choir. Every seat was always filled and extra chairs added in. They would totally do productions at Easter and Christmas time. She had special lighting installed in the chapel, that was built while she was in charge, so they could do mood lighting for the programs. The choir even had individual lights that clipped on the choir music folders, so we could see to sing. I say we, because she invited me to sing in her ward choir for about 10 years. I loved singing under her. She was so expressive and a great musician. Grandma has always been a great support for my singing and drama endeavors. One of my biggest fans.

My grandma is a marvelous cook. She makes the best shredded roast beef and homemade rolls. Grandma has always loved roast beef, strawberries, ginger cream cookies and almonds-- oh, and "sweet aloha." ( Diet Pepsi) These are the foods that I relate with her. She cooked a lot when she was raising her 7 kids and 60 some odd grandkids. Now we take turns cooking for her. It really is an honor to do this. She is so appreciative and welcoming. She will even turn off her FOX news or Matlock and sit and visit.
Grandma will tell it like it is. She doesn't mince words and has an opinion about the world around her and what's happening with current events. She loves the Jazz and a good football game too.
I always wanted a daughter to name after my Grandma.... after 4 boys, I got my wish when Laila blessed our family. Laila is just as much a spitfire as the woman she is named after.

My Grandma has taught me to love-- always-- unconditionally.
People are more important than things.... and...
Gratitude is the key to a happy life.

I pray I can be as healthy and Happy as my sweet Grandma when I turn 93!

My sweet Mother in Law, Wanee, sent this to me the day my grandma passed away.  It really made me  realize how my Grandmother has shaped my life.

"LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons,
things you must build upon in order to have a
solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person
and put what you have learned to use in all other
relationships and areas of your life. "

I had my Grandma in my life for 47 years....I feel so blessed to have lived so close by and to have felt so much love and acceptance from her.  She adored my children and my Wayne too. Last winter for a family night, we all went up and sang for Grandma.  Every one performed a solo while standing on her fireplace "stage."  It was a wonderful time.  She always made us all feel like we were the most talented.  We were the "star" of her show.

I know she is so happy to be with my Grandpa in heaven.
I'm sure they are dancing and eating strawberries and almonds and sipping sweet aloha!!!
I'm thankful.


Paula said...

Also a great tribute, Melinda (just read Marci's).
My love to you and the family,

MCC said...

Don't fret, you can sing for her for ever.
Love you,

Lesley said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Grandma; Melinda. Everytime I go to the Temple I pass your Grandma's house and I think to myself, "there's Melinda's Grandma's house." I remember watching her perform once with the "Cole Collection", I thought that that was so neat to see all of the generations of women in one family perform together. I remember you telling me years ago that you wanted to name a daughter after her. When I go to visit Ashleigh at the cemetery I will drop by and say "hi" to your Grandpa and Grandma Butters. Love you.

Si said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Hugs for you. love, me

Mark and Jill said...

Melinda, We were so sad to here about Grandma Buttars. This was a beautiful tribute to her. Take care. Love ya