A Letter to Grandma

Sometimes, stuff happens in our lives that really puts things into perspective. I recently had one of these awakenings occur. We get so caught up with work, responsibilities, vacations, school, and we forget what is really important to us. Well, the most important thing to me is first God, but a very close second is family. I love my entire family, both near and far, very very much.

One special light on my Dad’s side of my family is my Grandma Barbara. There is something so pure, so Christ-like about her that makes people drawn to her. She is so sweet and so humble. And so very loving. When I try to vocalize my feelings, sometimes it doesn’t come out the way I want it to and I don’t fully get my message across. So this writing is everything I’ve always wanted to say to my Grandma. Here is a shout out to one of my heroes.

I’ve compiled a list of things I love about my Grandma Barbara. While this list doesn’t nearly do justice as to how amazing she truly is, it is a little glimpse into what makes her so special.

1. She’s A Hugger

You guys, I’ve never been a big hugger (this will not come as a surprise to some of you). Growing up, I was constantly resisting hugs from anyone who even attempted to wrap their arms around me. I blocked out hugs from my mom, from my dad, from my brothers, and from my friends. But one person who consistently persevered and never stopped hugging me despite my resistance is my Grandma. She always gives me hug after hug every single time I see her. And as I’ve grown up, I’ve become so much more grateful for those hugs. The warm embrace that greets me every time I see my Grandma is something that is very dear to me.

2. She’s A Lover

My Grandma has an endless amount of people she holds close to her heart. She has her husband, her six children and their spouses, her endless grandchildren and great grandchildren, her friends, the list goes on and on. And every single one of those people feels nothing but love from my Grandma. She has a way of spreading Christ-like love to all those she encounters. I have friends who have only briefly met my Grandma, and they always make comments like “Oh my goodness your Grandma is so sweet!” or “She is the nicest lady every!” and it couldn’t be more true. Someone who makes a loving first impression with everyone she meets must be a pretty special person.

3. She Never Gives Up

To say my Grandma has had a hard life would be an understatement. She has had her fair share of trials, but she has overcome each and every struggle that comes her way with grace and love. She had her first child at a very young age, but instantly filled her role as a mother. She then had four more children and continued to be the best mother she could be despite poverty and hardship. She spent quite some time as a single mother after her first husband left her. I have a hard time babysitting by myself for a couple of hours, so I can only imagine the struggle it must be to be a single mom to five children all of the time. Despite everything happening that was out of her control, she continued to raise her family with God at the center. She hasn’t allowed any of her struggles to make her bitter, and the struggles have seemed to actually have the opposite effect. They have formed her into the strongest, most empathetic and loving person she could possibly be.

4. She Places Heavenly Father At The Center Of Her Life

If there was ever an example of somebody who has her priorities straight, it is my Grandma. Just the other day, I called her to check in as she has been struggling with a health problem. I can’t remember her exact words, but she said something along the lines of, “There is no need to worry! I have faith in Heavenly Father and I know that His plan for me is better than any plan I ever had for myself so I don’t need to fear about what is happening. I have seen this time and time again in my life. He knows what is best.” She knows what’s most important. It’s God. And she trusts Him with all of her heart. Ever since the missionaries knocked on her door years ago and introduced her to the Gospel, her life has been focused on Heavenly Father.

5. She Is Sensitive And Humble And Grateful

If you have ever given my Grandma Barbara a card, or a gift, or even a simple phone call or text, you know what her reaction will be. She will cry and be SO incredibly grateful for your kind gesture. My siblings and I used to always joke about this. 🙂 We knew our Grandma was a crier! But now, I realize why she cries when her loved ones do something kind for her. She feels overwhelming gratitude for the fact that we thought of her. She may think that the only time we think about her is when we see her or call her, but the truth of the matter is I think about my Grandma all of the time and pray for her well-being. And I love the fact that she is so sensitive and so humble. It is a great example to me that I need to be more grateful when people around me do kind things for me.

Those are just five of the infinite positive qualities I could list off about my Grandma Barbara. I hope she knows how much I love her. I hope she knows how truly amazing she is. I hope she knows that she has been an example and hero to me for my entire life here on this earth. I am so grateful for eternal families, and so overwhelming grateful for the fact that I get to be with my Grandma and all of the rest of my family members forever and ever. God is good. I love you Grandma. 

Love,

Bright Blue Stone

15 Comment

  1. Craig Snyder says: Reply

    What a tribute, Ellie. You said everything so perfectly and I feel the same way about mom. What a jewel…what a saint…what a pioneer…what an angel!!!

  2. Susie Ritter says: Reply

    I have known Vonnie since she was a Methodist (first grade). She was the sweetest, smartest, cutest kid in her row (I was the one with the glasses in the next row over), and she always had the best pony tail. I used to think she glowed. I’m still right on that.

  3. Ashley Ness says: Reply

    Beautifully put, Ellie! She is such and wonderful woman. Aren’t we lucky we get to call her Grandma? 🙂

  4. Dixie and Russell Harward says: Reply

    We got to know Barbara when we moved to South Dakota. She was a pure, humble person that we learned to love immediately. We still call her one of out special friends. Love you very much, Barbara!

  5. Carol says: Reply

    That you for sharing about your wonderful, Grandma. She IS an amazing woman!

  6. Lene Bartlett says: Reply

    Ellie, you have a wonderful way with words and expressing what’s in your heart… I love your blog and your writings… You have grown into such a beautiful woman inside and out and I am sure you can contribute some of that to the great influence your very loving and special family has on you. You all radiate such love and gratitude for each other, towards others and for Christ and Heavenly Father.
    Gramma’s are great aren’t they…. I miss mine sooooo much. You have also been blessed with a sweet sweet gramma who is soooo humble and has so much love and kindness to offer and give of freely… Every time I see her she smiles. The joy that you can see in her eyes truly reflects the very special person she is… You are lucky and blessed to have her. ❤️ Thank you for being so special yourself, and sharing your thoughts and feelings with us… Isn’t the gospel great… “Families are Forever” …. I love to think about that… Having missed out on so many years while living so far away from my family in Denmark it truly is a comfort for me to know that. Some day we will catch up….. And that will be a glorious day. 🙂

  7. Mary says: Reply

    And before she parented all of her beautiful children, that are lights of my life, she raised a baby sister brought home to a very broken home 💞 She may be my sister but she has always been my mother too!!! Everything that is good & wonderful in my life is because of her 💓 Always there to care & love me when I needed her! Setting the example of the love of the Savior for me to follow her! Loving my little family as her own 💗 No one could ever be blessed with such an angel of a sister as I have been! I thank Heavenly Father everyday for that gift!

    1. Craig Snyder says: Reply

      Those are super nice words, Mary. Thank you for sharing them!

  8. Neal Bertelsen says: Reply

    Thank you so much Ellie. All the words in this post are wonderfully true. But there was one word that is so true of Mom that it brought me to literal tears. I had to stop and have a good cry. That word: Pure.

  9. Karen Nelson Willard says: Reply

    I’ve known you’re grandmother since she joined through Church all those years ago. We went to church in that little building across from Whittier middle school. She had one of the strongest hand shakes of any woman I have met. You’re so right about her unfailing love and belief of her Heavenly Father. She always had a smile on her face and a warm greeting. She’s one of a kind.

  10. Sue Kulmacz says: Reply

    I don’t know your grandmother but I do know Dory. She has to be from the same mold! I know Dory is an example of that love that your grandmother emanates. I love your kind words.
    Beautifully written and well said!!! <3

  11. Chris Briest says: Reply

    What a beautiful tribute to your loving Grand Mother. You captured her beautifully. She is a very rare gem. She touched my heart the very first time I met her so many years ago. I admire and love her spirit of Grace.

  12. ken says: Reply

    What a special tribute.. so Touching..

  13. Sheli Jorgensen says: Reply

    It has been nearly 30 years since I met your grandma and haven’t seen since I served my mission in Sioux Falls…but I will never forget what a kind person she was. She treated us just like her own daughters and always made us feel welcome in her home! You have been blessed to have her as your grandma and to learn from such a great example!

  14. Anne says: Reply

    I’m the little kid with her arms around her brother in the picture in the 3rd paragraph. I always heard about Vonnie but she was closer to my mom’s age than mine. I would appreciate a copy of that picture. I haven’t ever seen that one but I have a memory close to it, visiting Dory and her mom. Prayers and hugs, Anne (Richard Michael’s daughter)

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