Friday, April 18, 2014

homemade ice cream...a story of a life well lived

I still struggle to say the words without tears flooding my eyes - hence my lack of posts - but on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, one of God's most beautiful angels gained her wings...
My dear grandma...our beloved "Tata" as we called her.
June 21, 1924 - April 9, 2014
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28

She was a beautiful example of a life well-lived...a life walked solely by faith. She loved. She cared. She inspired. She gave. She forgave. She endured. She trusted. She is HEALED!
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile." ~Mother Teresa

That was my grandma in a nutshell. She loved without ever expecting anything in return. She pointed others to Christ not through her words, but through her actions.
I have so many wonderful memories of times shared with her. One of the biggest blessings in my life was having a sweet, simple, innocent childhood and she and my grandpa were such a huge part of that. I loved watching her in the kitchen. She was an AMAZING cook - absolutely no recipes, just "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" and "if you cook it with love it will always turn out good."
I can still hear her laugh and the way her eyes wrinkled and flickered when she couldn't stop laughing. I will never watch a beauty pageant without thinking about my grandma and the fun she, my grandpa, my mom, and I always had.
My grandparents' marriage was a godly marriage in every sense of the example and an inspiration to all of us, her family. I have never met two people who loved each other more than they did. Their faith in God and their respect for each other was the cornerstone of their 57 years together. The way he looked at her, the way she took care of him...even through his 15-year battle with Alzheimer's...these and so many other memories are engraved in my mind forever.
My grandma suffered a great deal of pain in the nine+ years that she had Alzheimer's. But even through the worst of it, when this cruel disease had stolen everything from her, she kept her eyes on Jesus. What a beautiful homecoming that must have been!
We flew in to Puerto Rico the same day she died.  We didn't get there in time.  she passed a little before 1am and we didn't get there until 1pm that afternoon.  My heart will always ache for that, but I know she knew how much I loved her.  My mom and my Aunt Isa often put the phone to her ear so she could hear our voices.  Two days before she died, when she had taken another turn for the worse, my mom sent me a message to tell me that while Tata's eyes had been opened and focused, she had been talking to her about me and the littles, explaining to her why we couldn't be there - how we lived so far away.  My mom said she asked her if she understood, and that my sweet grandma blinked her eyes and moved her head up and down a little to say, yes.  More tears for me.  Tears seem to be in abundance around here lately.  And yet, we choose to focus on the beautiful gift her life was to us.
Just this past Tuesday, April 15th, we had a God wink like no other. My mom called and shared this story with me...and of course, more tears flowed. Happy ones, this time.

She was emptying an old drawer full of recipes, sorting them and deciding which ones to keep, since they bought a new house near us and they're still packing up their other house. She had put them in a box in the kitchen and left to do something else. Later when she returned, there was a single recipe on the grandma's homemade ice cream recipe.

It was as if my grandma was just letting us know that she is happy and well. Even though we have no doubt that upon her earthly death she was immediately reunited with our Heavenly Father, that little recipe on the floor just gave my mom and I such a sweet sign and memory to behold. In my mind, ice cream = celebrations = happy...oh what a glorious way to spend eternity in heaven with our loving Jesus!

I love you Tata with all my heart.
I miss you more than words can say and yet I am comforted to know you are no longer suffering.
What a legacy of love you've left our family!
'Till we meet again.
Your eldest granddaughter that named you "Tata" by babbling "ta-ta-ta-ta" when I was just months old and you said I was calling you by name...
Te quiero, Tata y te llevo en mi corazon por siempre! 


Unknown said...

Sending love and prayers your way during this time of grief. My own father passed on April 5th, 2014 after a long battle with cancer, so I was thinking of you this week as I knew that your grandmother was also in failing health. I take comfort in knowing these wonderful people are no longer suffering and are at peace with our Lord.

Mrs. Cozy Home said...

Bless you and your lovely family, and may you always hold your cherished memories near to your heart.

Unknown said...

All i can say is the whole post brought happy tears to my eyes.

Kimberley said...

such a beautiful post, and tribute to your amazing Tata. beautiful pictures. praying for peace and comfort for your family during this hard time.

Lauren and Eddie said...

Thinking of you and sending up prayers for you.

Annie said...

Dios te brinde la fortaleza necesaria para sobrellevar esta gran perdida. Mis oraciones estan contigo y tu familia. Dios los bendiga!!!

Penny Power said...

I was so sorry to read your latest update. It is truly such a cruel disease. But a blessing that she is no longer suffering. What a beautiful lady she was - the first photo in your post is just lovely. Much love from my family to yours x

Lesley said...

Oh Jessica, I am so sorry for your loss. I know the pain of losing a grandparent that is adored. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures of your grandparents...I especially love their wedding can feel the love just by looking at it.

Kelly said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What beautiful testimony and legacy she left behind. It's a wonderful thing to have the promise of seeing her again one day.

Spears said...

So sorry for your loss. Prayers lifted up as your family grieves the loss of this special woman.

Angel said...

Grandma's are so very special and I am so sorry for your loss. Sending love and prayers to you and your family. May God's love comfort you.

Lili said...

Oh Jess, I'm so sorry for your loss, but as you said, she's in a much better place where there's no pain only joy!!!! Take God's comfort and grab his hand!!! God Bless You and your beautiful family, give your beautiful mom my most sincere respect on your loss!

E.Massie said...

Prayers to you and your family. I can sympathize with you, as I didn't make it to see my dad before he passed away last May. I feel the same, that he knew that we loved him and he knew we were on our way. I tell myself, and I'll share with you, we are incredibly blessed to be so heartbroken over passed loved ones. The heartbreak proves how loved and wanted and how precious they were. God bless you.