grandma stanley

This is Grandma Stanley. I miss her so much already. She left this life on May 15, 2011...five days after her 89th birthday, and six months to the day after Grandpa passed away. What a rough time she had over those six months, in and out of the hospital after falling and breaking her nose, her pelvis, and for several other complications. But in the end, I think she died of a broken heart. I am truly so happy for her to be with Grandpa again. I would have loved to see that reunion in heaven, it must have been wonderful.

Grandma had 6 girls, 31 grandchildren, 101 great-grandchildren {I think Will was number 100}, and 9 great-great-grandchildren. Although she had a huge family, she could tell you exactly what was going on in everyone's lives. She loved every one of us, and truly worried about us when we were going through rough spots. Everyday for years and years, each of her six girls would call her on the phone, so she was very connected to the whole family that way. How she had time to talk to that many people everyday is beyond me!

I remember that when she was excited about something, she would say she was "thrilled" or "tickled pink." I always thought that was so funny. She gave us pajamas every Christmas and I remember thinking, "Boring!" But now, looking back, I see how generous that was, especially since she had so many grandkids, and she and Grandpa lived in a tiny shoebox of a house. They were so kind to us. I remember going to their house for breakfast every Christmas, and it was so crowded in that little kitchen, but they always welcomed everybody.

If you went to visit, she and Grandpa wouldn't let you leave unless they had fed you something...even if it was freezer-burned ice cream {which my brother-in-law Colby secretly flushed down the toilet...shhhh!}. I have a funny memory of Thanksgiving at their house from when I was probably 6 or 7 years old...their tiny house was PACKED, and some of us kids kept running through the kitchen while Grandma was trying to make her pies and finish cooking the dinner. Her nervous side snapped, and she yelled at us kids, "Get the hell out of my kitchen!" I remember being slightly afraid of her at that moment, but now I think that's hilarious. It's funny, I don't remember her ever babysitting us. Apparently, she hated babysitting. At least she was honest!

The apricot tree out in Grandma's front yard was our favorite to climb. She made her own apricot and raspberry jam, bottled the raspberries and tomatoes from the garden, and even pickled beets. I have a yellow piece of paper tucked in my recipe book, where Grandma wrote {in nice cursive} her recipe for apricot jam. It's a little piece of her I'm so glad I have. I remember seeing her in an apron a lot, and seeing her down in the cellar beneath the kitchen floor. There were rows and rows of glass jars full of colorful jewels from the garden. It had a musty smell, and I was too terrified as a kid to ever go down there. When Ben was a baby he actually fell down into that cellar when it was left open. Grandma about had a heart attack when that happened!

We used to lay on the grass in the summer heat at Grandma's house and watch the big airplanes fly right over us as they came in to land at the nearby airport. They were so loud it seemed the ground would tremble. It was very exciting as a kid.

Grandma would tell me how lucky I was to have so many baby dolls, because when she was little she only had one or two. She would tell me how proud she was of me for taking such good care of my dolls. I don't know why I remember that, but I do. I remember it bedroom, my little doll cradle stuffed with dolls and all their little blankets. Grandma loved them as much as I did!

If you've ever heard Patsy Cline sing, then you know what my Grandma's voice was like. She was so talented. She and Grandpa had a band back in the day. We used to go up to my mom's cousin's ranch in Idaho each summer for the Ross reunion {my grandma's maiden name}. Grandpa would play the guitar and the two of them would sing and sing until it was dark and the stars were shining. All of us little cousins would dance and laugh until one of us peed our pants! It was such a good time.

She was very blunt...I remember being at her house once when her sister Alice was visiting. This was after I had a couple kids and I had lost some weight. See, I was a bit more square during my high school and college years, and she wanted everyone to take note that I'd finally dropped the pounds. She told me to stand up and turn around in the middle of the room while she and Alice sat there and inspected me. "Now you remember, Heather always had that waddle chin?" Grandma said to Alice. Alice said, "Oh yes! Well, look at that!" Waddle chin?? I wasn't THAT pudgy, sheesh! I could have been totally offended, but that's just Grandma and she never meant anybody harm. She was just the most honest person you ever met.

Grandma was married at 16, and had her first baby at 17. She and Grandpa lived in Park City, and she said all the old ladies in Park City were counting the months when the baby was born to make sure it was legitimate! She had her last baby when she was 41, so I have cousins who are older than my youngest aunt. One thing Grandma always said was, "If I knew then what I know now, I would've had ten children!" She loved to be surrounded by her family. Another thing she told me was that she wished that she hadn't worried so much about keeping the house perfectly clean. "Spend more time with your little ones, you can clean the house later," she said.

{Holding baby Nina}

{Both sets of grandparents. Grandma & Grandpa Stanley, and Grandma & Grandpa Haugen}

Grandma always made sure to pick out a special blanket for each great-grandbaby, and she and Grandpa made an effort to come and see each new little one. Ben has always been so sweet to Grandma, especially when she was living at my mom's house. He would go give her a hug the minute we walked in the door. "Ben is the boy I always wanted," she'd say.

I'm happy I was able to say goodbye to her a couple of times before she was gone. We knew she was going because she just slept and slept and went for days without eating. A few days before she passed away, I held her hand and told her how much I loved her, and told her to send our love to Grandpa when she meets him again. I knew she could hear me because she shrugged her shoulders and looked like she was trying so hard to open her eyes. Then I was able to see her again the next day and she actually woke up! She asked me what the weather was like outside, and it was one of those rare beautiful days inbetween all the rainy ones. She seemed happy about that. I was holding Will in my arms and she said, "Is this your boy?" She seemed a little confused, and I knew that she normally wouldn't have had to ask. "Yes, Grandma, this is William," I replied. She reached out and squeezed his fat little hand, "I love him so much!" she whispered. It made me cry! My cousins Joi and Lindsie came up from St. George to say goodbye, and amazingly she woke up for them just as they were about to go back home. Grandma looked at Joi's face and said "Joi!" It was suddenly a party since she was awake for a few minutes. "We're jumping for joy every time you say something, Grandma!" Lindsie told her. That was Saturday.

Sunday morning just after 10 am, my mom called me and told me Grandma had just passed away. I remember feeling so devastated when my Grandpa died, but this time I felt so at peace. Maybe it's because I know the two of them are together again, as they should be.