I am on my knees, Meemaw

Many nights before leaving on a trip, I have been anxiously anticipating a week of waves and sunshine at the beach with my family. For as long as I can remember, Meemaw and Pop would take our family to the beach every other year. I can’t help but think of the other trips I have been on as I pack and prepare to leave for Italy tomorrow, and I can’t help but think back over the activities of this past week.

I moved home from college a week ago tomorrow, but I had no idea what my week would look like leading up to departure tomorrow. I got the call a little after noon on Friday that my Meemaw had passed away. And so ensued the next few days of reminiscing, celebrating, crying, mourning, and fellowshipping as we commemorated Meemaw’s 79 years on this earth.  Each of her 3 grandkids were asked to write a letter that was read at her memorial service yesterday, and this was what I came up with to briefly touch on the impact Meemaw had on my life:

The last couple of weeks, my mind has been flooded with memories of my sweet Meemaw. I think of all the times I rode in the backseat of the “kiddy car” and then turning around and driving that same car as a sixteen year old. I think of swinging in the backyard at the house on Amy Lane, listening to her sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and I think of eating buttered noodles for lunch before cuddling up for an afternoon nap. As we got older, Meemaw loved to share the stories of our childhood, of me always being the cuddly one, always wanting to climb up in the rocker and rock. She liked to tell of the countless times she would sit with me at the bar long after everyone else finished eating, encouraging me to “take just one more bite”. My mind is flooded with memories of camping every summer. To say I do not get along with the outdoors is an understatement, but I like to think that staying in the cabin with Meemaw and Pop every year always gave us a little extra bonding time and for that I am grateful. There was a theme song for every vacation we went on…we’d sing as we headed off to Albert Pike to camp and Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun” accompanied our summer treks to the beach. From Destin to Belize to Cancun, our beach vacations will forever be graced with the sound of the waves and of Meemaw singing about soaking up some sun. Another thing that Meemaw and I always had in common was our love for shopping. When she was no longer able to go out and peruse the shops we had online shopping dates, and I’d sit with my laptop and we’d look through our favorite stores. Along with the age of online shopping came the era of the iPhone. Meemaw got an iPhone and as I went off to college, I could always count on her texts to make my day. On holidays and breaks from school, our family would sit around and swap Meemaw text stories. She would cover every topic from the weather to the latest store sales to how her bridge game was going to my major to my relationships, all in one fell swoop. Regardless of the sporadic subjects, I could always bank on one of two sign offs to the text—“Love you, Meemaw” or “I am on my knees”. It was often a joke that we hoped that she was not literally on her knees praying for us for fear of her ability to get back up, but I have no doubt that my sweet Meemaw was constantly lifting up prayers on my behalf and I know she is smiling down from heaven now still rooting me on in everything I do. I know she was proud of me, but I am exceptionally proud to call her my grandma. I have big shoes to fill one day and I will forever cherish the memories I have with her. It’s been awhile since she has been able to wave her foot goodbye, but that was her signature wave—whether holding onto Pop’s shoulder standing in the driveway and kicking it back and forth or literally sticking it out of the car window as Pop drove off. I am at peace knowing that one day we will be together in heaven and we’ll never have to wave goodbye again. I can’t wait to sit down in a gazebo in heaven and have tea parties and soak up all the sun we want. I could brag on my Meemaw forever, and I talk about her to anyway willing to listen. She is a very special lady to so many people and I am thankful for the impact that she has had on the 19 years I got to have with her, but she will continue to influence the rest of my years, too. I love you, Meemaw. You always sang to us to count our many blessings, and in counting mine, Meemaw, you are number one!

I am on my knees,

Jantzen

My week has looked nothing like what I expected, but I was able to see family I would not have seen otherwise, I have relived so many happy memories, and now I know that my Meemaw will be an angel on my shoulder while I travel this summer and for the rest of my life. I may be heading into this summer a tad sleep-deprived and emotionally drained, but I am ecstatic for the adventures that lie ahead!!

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