Things have been a bit quiet at the To Be Told site the last couple of weeks. But the To Be Told team has been quite busy. Last week was a half-work-half-holiday travel week for us. And as we were winding down our time in Iceland, I learned that my grandmother had passed away. So I returned home long enough to pack a bag and sleep about 4 hours, then headed back to the airport to travel to the states.
To Be Told is all about telling people’s stories. But sometimes a person can’t fully tell their own story without sharing a bit of the stories of the people who made them who they are. And that is definitely true for me. For example, to tell my story would involve a good bit about my mom’s parents, who’ve played a big role in my life.
So I’m borrowing from our other blog (www.notesfromnorge.com) and sharing here what I shared there earlier this week.
There are at least two things that people who know me would likely say are true about me. The first: I love coffee. The second: if you want to know how I feel about something, all you have to do is look at my face.
Both of these things about me can be traced back to one woman who has had a significant impact on my first 40 years of life.
I was probably 5 or 6 years old when I had coffee for the first time. My parents never drank it. But I slept over at my grandparents’ home often – probably at least one night a week in my earliest years – and my Nana always started her day with coffee. So when I would wake, I would ask for a cup. And she would fill the little white porcelain mug with a splash a coffee, a spoonful of sugar, and a lot of milk.
We would sit in the living room, facing the big picture window, and start our morning together. I loved how my Nana would always listen to me. I loved to hear her telling stories. And even though it sometimes made me mad, I loved that I never had to ask her how she felt about something. Nana would tell it like it is, with love, with humor, and with bluntness.
As an adult, my cup of coffee looks a bit different. It’s much larger than those little white mugs decorated with 50’s and 60’s characters. There’s a lot more coffee in there now. And I’ve bid the milk and sugar farewell. But the morning routine is still there. And I almost always think of my Nana during my morning coffee ritual.
As I sipped my coffee yesterday morning, I was thinking of her even more. Tuesday, after months of struggling with illness, my beloved grandmother passed away. Friday, I traveled from Norway back to America so I could attend the funeral yesterday with my family.
I’ve slept at my grandparents’ home the past two nights. And several times, I’ve expected to see her. I walked to the living room yesterday morning, thinking she’d be there with a book and a coffee cup, curled up in her seat like always.
But her seat was empty. And everything seemed a bit more empty without her.
I think a lot of who I am today comes from my Nana. She was never one to hide how she felt about things. She loved shopping for bargains. She enjoyed cooking for family and friends. Hospitality was in her blood.
And a lot of who I strive to be is from her example as well. She had a heart for serving and helping others. She loved and adored her husband. She valued her family greatly. And she loved Jesus deeply.
As we have cried and laughed and shared stories with each other, I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy. Betty Edge’s legacy comes from 84 years of loving, giving, sharing and serving. And it extends well beyond her, to her husband, 3 children, 8 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and countless friends.
What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind? What are the things I would want to be remembered for? What about you?
I’m thankful that I had such a strong and amazing woman in my life for so many years. It’s hard to believe she’s really gone. But I’m thankful that she is no longer in pain. And I’m thankful for the legacy she left, the memories we made, and the fact that I’ll be able to one day see her again.
A phrase I always loved to her my Nana say when she’d meet someone, is one I know that anyone who knew her would certainly say about her: “Glad to know you!”