Grandma Betty and James 1:27

Betty Joe

My Grandma went to be with Jesus on May 22nd.  Today we will celebrate her life in a tiny country church where we celebrate the lives of all the family members that leave this earth.  It’s a bittersweet little church to me.  In that church we’ve had family weddings and too many family memorials.  We had our family Christmas party there the year Havalah was born.  I remember bringing her there at a whopping 4 days old and oh my word, she was so jaundiced!  She looks like a little yellow bundle in all the pictures.  Ha!
We were just at the church in December celebrating the life of my Uncle Gary, and now we celebrate Grandma.  As cute as the church is, I’m ready to not visit there for a while.  
I made the slideshow for Grandma’s service and it was so fun.  I loved looking through all the old pictures, seeing my Grandma in a different light.  I feel like there’s so much I didn’t know about Grandma.  She wasn’t one to talk about herself much, or share her feelings and ideas.  When I think of her I think of a smiling onlooker, happy to just watch her family in action.  I’m sure much of the reason I think of her in that way was because she had some dementia in her later years.  Family get-togethers become more and more overwhelming to her and she was good just watching everyone run around, talking really loud (my mom’s family is notorious for our loud-talking)  🙂  As I made the slideshow I feel like I was able to catch some glimpses of what she was like as a young lady and a young mom.  I wish so much I would have talked to her about those days while she was still with us.  Ah well…we can chat it up someday in heaven, we’ll have plenty of time together then.
Grandpa and Grandma
I love the above picture!  How cute is that?  I don’t remember my Grandpa much at all.  He went to heaven when I was 5.  I have one vague memory of sitting on the edge of his hospital bed…but that’s all.  My mom tells me He loved his grandkids.  This picture really makes me wish I had been able to grow up knowing him.  I wonder how things would have been different with him around?  I wonder how Grandma was different with him in her life?  All I know is I inherited his crossed eyes and then passed it on to my kids.  Thanks a lot Grandpa!!!!  Aw well….it’s the gift that keeps on giving.  🙂
Grandma and her babes
The above picture might be my most favorite of all.  Grandma as a young mom, surrounded by her kidlets, now that- that I can relate to.  The week before Grandma died the kids and I went to go visit her at the nursing home she lived in.  She was up and around in her chair, but a little confused at times during the visit.  When it was time to leave I was rounding up the kids, calling each of their names and Grandma said “Boy, do you need name tags for all of them?  How do you keep them all straight?”  Ha!  My Aunt Jane, who was visiting with us, reminded Grandma “You had 5 of your own kids mom!”  Grandma shook her head in disbelief like she couldn’t believe she managed 5 kids at once.  But, she sure did!  At one time she was a young mom, doing housework, diapers, discipline, grocery shopping…I wish I could have caught a glimpse of her then.  I wonder how she felt about Motherhood?  I wonder what she enjoyed about each of her little ones?  I wonder if she ever felt lonely or isolated in her mothering, or did she have friends and family surrounding her and supporting her?  I wonder if she felt successful as a mother or if she always wished she would have done things differently?  I wish I knew…but again, we’ll have all of eternity to talk about Mommyhood. 
Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Gary
This picture makes me smile.  I loved my Uncle Gary a ton.  He left us too early and I still miss him very much. 

Like I said before, we visited Grandma the week before she died.  She had been pretty sick with pneumonia and had just come back to the nursing home after being hospitalized.  The kids and I went, I prepared them that Grandma might not know them, that she might just be sleeping.  Boy were we surprised to see her up out of bed in her chair!  It was a sweet visit.  I didn’t know at the moment that it would be our last time to chat.  The day after our visit Grandma declined and didn’t really talk with anyone else again.  I am so blessed that we were able to see her that day.  It was truly a gift from the Lord.  And, we took pictures!!!  Yay!

Addy and Grandma Betty

Ezra and Grandma Betty

Havalah, Mommy, and Grandma.  Seth was being a stinker and wouldn’t come in the picture 🙂
Some time last year I felt burdened to start visiting Grandma more regularly.  If you know me well, you know that I LOVE James 1:27.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

I love that verse because it shows the Father’s heart for the orphan, the vulnerable.  I’m ashamed to say that for many years I neglected to heed the second vulnerable group addressed in this verse: the widow.  Last fall God really got me in the guts on that.  “If you want to truly follow Me, don’t just heed the commands that are convenient for you.”  Oh, oops.  He got me there.  I hadn’t been visiting Grandma regularly and I felt a nudging (or a shoving) to make that more of a priority.  I want to teach my kids that the elderly are important and are to be honored.  I wanted them to see me take time out of my schedule to drive down and see Grandma.  No more using the excuse that it’s hard to visit a nursing home with 4 little ones.  Well, it is hard, but I bet it’s a lot harder to sit in a nursing home day after day and not have your babies visit you.  So, we started visiting more often.  I made it a goal to see Grandma once a month and I am SO glad I did.  We made some sweet memories and my kids got to know Grandma Betty in their own way.  I wish so badly I had starting visiting her earlier, but I don’t get a do-over.  I wish I had talked with her more about her earlier life and her dreams.  I wish I had known her better as her own person.  I know she loved me and I know she knew that I loved her, but I wish I would have put that love into action more often.

I guess what I want to say is, if you have a loved one who is growing old, go visit.  Make the time.  We all have time to give, we just have to choose to give it.  I treasure those visits with Grandma and I know she treasured them just as much, probably even more.  When we visited it made her day.

I love you Grandma.  I’ll miss your face and your birthday songs on the phone.  You’ve got two of your babies and Grandpa and Neil to love on now.  I can see you now dancing with Jesus- no more wheelchair, no more arthritis, no more lost memories.  You are well, you are whole.  Can’t wait to see you again 🙂


  1. Stevie the Vagabond... · June 2, 2012

    Love it.

  2. Anonymous · June 5, 2012

    Kimberly, you have made my day!! I had been in dispare that the younger generations were all air heads (with so many piercings all the substance has run out!), but you show real insight and the ability to communicate that insight !! A beautiful tribute to your grandmother and your up-bringing.I knew Tommy from the time Collins' moved to Alpine and Betty Jo for the time we were in high school. Mike (Malcolm) Mintonye MUHS '49

  3. Jed and Kimber · June 10, 2012

    Thank you Mike for your sweet words! I love hearing from people who knew my Grandma back in the day. 🙂

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