Monday, July 4, 2011

We were Kindred Spirits

Elinor Flint

“Gramma” was not your stereo-typical grandmother who baked cookies and spoiled the grandkids. Oh no! She was a strong-willed woman who raised her three children without their father, in an era that was not tolerant of independent women. She cared little of what others thought about her and stoically endured numerous adversities in her life. One such hardship was that of losing her vision to glaucoma during her midlife changes. Yet, she never allowed blindness to stop her from going to work each day and living by herself in an upstairs apartment.

I was a toddler when my family moved across the country from my place of birth and there was no interaction with the relatives left behind. I grew up neither knowing nor missing my maternal grandmother. It was not until I moved out on my own that Mom made amends with Gramma. I then became determined to get to know this seemingly formidable person that I knew little about.

I was twenty-three when I embarked on the 3000 mile journey to her home to meet face to face. Upon my arrival, before I was even unpacked, her work worn hands caressed my face as she felt my features in order to get a mental picture of what I looked like. Relatives that  had picked me up at the airport provided verbal descriptions of my appearance. This stranger and I shared the same eye and hair color and sense of humor. I liked my grandma right away and she liked me. We became immediate kindred spirits.

That two week stay was very insightful into my own family dynamics. Gramma experienced a rough life and was not one to share of her past, so I had to pry information from other family members. It was then that I understood why both she and my mother behaved they way they did. Gramma's mannerisms were like my mother had and many of which I also tended to display. We were definately related!

Gramma was not a Christian even though her daughters and other grandchildren were believers. My aunt would share the Plan of Salvation, but she wanted no part of religion and time after time, would reject Christ. I made attempts to tell her about Jesus, but she closed her heart. I felt I could  better witness by being Christ-Like rather than coming on as the detested religious fanatic.

After returning home I made frequent contact with Gramma. She often “knew” when I was going to call and she would wait at the phone for me. She was usually right! I would tell her of the adventures I had and it seemed she lived vicariously through my stories. How I longed for my grandmother to move to California to be with us, but she would never even consider it.
Gramma, right, and Mom

 One year, however, she visited and what a thrill when she experienced the Pacific Ocean for the first time!

The years progressed and she began to grow frail and eventually could no longer work or live by herself. As time and money allowed, I would return to my town of origin but it saddened me to see my grandmother losing her spunk. Ultimately she became bedridden with a fractured hip and required to be in a nursing home. All along I kept the cards and calls coming and Gramma loved to hear of my everyday activities.

She died at the age of 87, and I grieved she was not in Heaven and that I would never see her again. However, a few days after her death, I was talking to my aunt and she declared that Gramma did accept Jesus shortly before she died. I wanted to believe that, but was skeptical, feeling that it was my aunt’s wishful thinking. I asked God for a sign that indeed, Gramma was with Him.

Two weeks later, it was pre-dawn and I was driving to work. As was my usual routine I was having worship time, but my thoughts went to my grandmother. I was stopped at a traffic signal when unexpectedly out of the darkness, a great white bird swooped directly across my windshield and then back up into the sky, I knew this was my sign. I knew, because Gramma loved hearing the birds and it was a treat for her to get out of the house to experience their singing. Gramma really was with Jesus!

I still miss her, yet cherish the 15 years we had together. She was blind but kept on going. She had a rough life, but it never stopped her. She was an example to me of being a survivor and I will get to see her some day when we meet in Heaven. And she will get to “see” me!


  1. Oh, Barb - what a BEAUTIFUL post. What a wonderful woman, and wonderful relationship, you had. Love those tough, spunky women.

  2. What a neat story, Barb! Thanks for sharing your Gramma with us!

  3. So beautiful and touching! I'm glad you got a chance to really know your grandmother.

  4. Oh, Barb what a heart-touching and beautiful post! I love the way God answers our prayers! I've asked Him for a sign many times, and He always answers in the most awesome ways!
    I am so blessed by your writing!

  5. Oh, Barb, this is just beautiful! I got teary-eyed reading it, especially how your grandmother came to the Lord at the end and the sign you received. I look forward to meeting your independent, spunky grandma in heaven. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  6. Wow, Barb! She sounds like an amazing woman! What an awesome story of salvation and you had a part in it by your living example! Thank you for sharing her with us:) LUVUUUUUU!!!!

  7. Love this testimony of your Gramma! Touching all the way through. And yay for feisty women!

  8. I wasn't the only one to blog about grandparents. :-) Thanks for sharing your grandmother with us--she soundded like a wonderful woman and so glad she finally accepted Christ.

    My grandmother also raised my mom as a single parent. She even went back to college to become a nurse. We both have a heritage of strong women!

  9. Oh wow. I need a tissue, Barb. Loved this!!


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