Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Give Praise!

“Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” Proverbs 31:31

Today my Grandmother, Reta Doty Williams, would have been 109 years old. She died of cancer on her 80th birthday, just two weeks before my little family was to fly out from Dallas Texas to visit her in Pennsylvania. My heart was broken, but at the same time I was grateful that she no longer had to suffer and she was now in the arms of our Savior.

I grew up in a troubled home to say the least; but I also was given the honor and privilege to have the elder matriarchs in my family assist in my upbringing. I had the awesome privilege of living with my great-grandmother, grandmother and great-aunt from time to time as a child. The unfortunate thing is that you don’t realize just how fortunate you really were until you no longer have them in your life.

My grandmother was a strong independent woman who had a heart and soul for care-giving. She not only raised four wonderfully gifted children, but she helped raise most of her grandchildren as well. Her care-giving did not stop there either; she was a private care nurse as well. Oh the wonderful stories she would tell us about the people she cared for; some of them I would meet as well. Maybe this is one of the reasons I was never afraid of the elderly or chronically ill; and later I would minister with my husband in a nursing home ministry as well as others within our church ministries through the years. My grandmother taught me to value life no matter the quality of that life. She was at many a bedside when people took their last breathes into eternity. Grandma cared for her disabled and later cancer ridden mother until her death as well.

It did not matter how busy my grandmother was, she always had time for a loved one. If I was ill, or injured, my grandmother was there to nurse me back to health. If my mother needed assistance with child care, grandma was right there making sure all my needs were met. I stayed with my grandmother or vice versa on many occasions and she never made me feel as though I was a nuisance.

My grandmother was a beautiful woman who loved to tell stories about her life and her children’s lives. She had a little rebel in her too. The Doty women were always quite conservative and proper women, but grandma felt that it didn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy life. If she wanted ice cream for breakfast… why not… just put it on top of your cereal instead of milk… it’s just frozen milk right? None of those dull drab colored dresses for her; no way! She wore beautifully colored dresses and even wore pantsuits later in life! Her sisters thought she was too radical. But grandma didn’t care what they thought; she lived her life as she wanted to; serving others. I think that is what kept her young and healthy until about two years before her death. There were many times through her life that she “cheated” death. One was twenty years before her death when she was diagnosed and treated for colon cancer in 1959. The doctors had said that if she survived the surgery she would have about six months to live; but in Grandma Reta fashion, she defied the nay-Sayers and lived a full and healthy life for twenty more years! I am so thankful that our Lord gave her those extra years so I would have the privilege of knowing and loving one of the greatest women who immensely influenced my life and help mold me into the person I am today.

Today, Grandma, I am publicly declaring my praise for your beautiful life and unconditional love you bestowed upon each of your loved ones. You have been greatly missed and I truly look forward to the day your loving and caring arms are around me once again. I love you Grandma!


Denise said...

Such a beautiful, and very heart touching tribute to your dear grandmother my friend.

Shying Away From It All said...

I just started a self help blog on social anxiety disorder. Check it out and leave me a comment or 2. Thanks, Nick

Alicia The Snowflake said...

What a wonderful story, Michele! Thank you for sharing. I, too, am eternally grateful for the influence of my grandmothers. They had a lot to do with who I am today. Thanks for sharing! And I hope you feel better soon!

He & Me + 3 said...

She is beautiful! What a wonderful post about a your loved one.

Marsha said...

Amen to everything you said about our beloved Grandmother!

I was just telling Missy and Adam some Grandma Reta stories on Monday. You know that's Missy's middle name.

Thanks for posting this, Sis. Love you!

HEATHER said...

That was absolutely a beautiful tribute to Great Grandma great story too.
Love, Heather

i said...

Hi Michele, sorry to hear you've been unwell. Will be praying for you. Take good care now!

This is a lovely tribute to your grandmother.

God bless!

Addicted to Beadz said...

What an awesome tribute to your Grandmother!

Thanks for sharing!


LAURIE said...

A lovely tribute to your Grandmother. Thank you for sharing your grateful heart especially since you have been sick. I do hope you are better by now. Happy TT! -Laurie

Laurie Ann said...

As a fellow suffer of fibromyalgia and IBS (which are both in flare-up right now for me) I can relate. I'm so glad you're feeling better! Do you ever wonder if you're having a flare-up or if you're truly sick with a virus? My grandson has a stomach bug and I wonder if I have that or am truly in flare-up. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference!

I loved the tribute to your precious grandmother. Mine is 85 and has Alzheimer's. She loved the Lord, and although she may not remember Him now, I know He remembers her.

Your post just blessed my heart.

Happy Thankful Thursday!

Nancie said...

Such a lovely tribute to your dear grandmother, Michele. Thank God for giving her to you and the ways her life has touched yours and is touching us now. May God continue to restore your family and Heather's. Take care. Praying for all of you.

bp said...

You wrote this so nicely with so many nice memories of this special lady. I liked the ice cream on the cereal, that's great!

Missy said...

Yep, that is who I am named after. Grandma Reta. Nobody spells Reta that way anymore either.
She was so lovely (well, I don't remember her. I do remembe visiting her in the hospital and Laura freeking out) But that picture is lovely. Nana and Aunt Ruth look so much like her!

Hope you are feeling better :)

Kathie said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. Blessings from Costa Rica