December 30, 2012

Memory Lane Monday - Saving The Best For Last...

Darrel and Grace's wedding photo. circa mid-1940s
This is going to be my last Memory Lane Monday, and believe me, I've save the best for last. I've often written about Grace, but it only seemed appropriate that I should tell you a little more about the one person who has had the greatest effect on the woman I have become.
When I try to explain my relationship to Grace, I've often called her my "almost mother-in-law". I met her son a month after I graduated from high school in 1973. She and Dad had two sons and two daughters...Deb, Damon, Dion and Deirdre...a "Donna" fit right in!

There was even a period of time when I lived with them. It started on a snowy Wisconsin night when her son had come to pick me up from my parents' house. The weather got worse, and Grace called my parents to let them know that I could stay with them that evening so they wouldn't have to worry about my safety. My father told her (and me) that if I didn't come home that night, I didn't have to come home at all. (There was an insult to Grace in there, too, but I won't repeat it.) After she hung up the phone, Grace turned and looked at me. She gave me a hug and said that I could stay with them as long as I needed to. Our safety was more important than the fifteen mile drive back out into the country. I lived there for six weeks until I found a a nice apartment with two of my girlfriends.

Her son and I dated for many years, and we were engaged to marry. I spent a lot of time with his mother through those years and I learned a lot from her. Although I've always loved and respected her, I knew that marrying her son wasn't the right decision for me, and she respected and supported my decision.

When I opened my needlework shop, Grace came and worked for me. In the ensuing years, Grace became "Mom", and she (and Dad) always referred to me as their third daughter. (Although her son and I have been friends all these years, I'm quite sure he thinks of me as an "ex". lol) Sadly, Dad passed a few years ago after a brief stint in a nursing home and Mom has been living on her own since.
A Thursday Night Trio 2009
When we still lived in Wisconsin, every Thursday night was our night together for dinner. We would take turns planning the meal, but Mom, Deb (her elder daugher) and I would always gather at Mom's house. When he was still alive, Dad even enjoyed our dinner nights. We still continue this tradition whenever I'm back to visit.

Over the past forty years, Mom taught me to do embroidery, crochet and knitting. I hadn't knit anything in years when our first grandchild was born, so I went to Mom and we sat down together so that she could show me how to cast on, complete the knitting stitches and read patterns. Thanks to her mentoring, I've created many beautiful and unique sweaters and hats for our three grandchildren.

If it weren't for Mom, I never would have learned to make a crocheted granny square. I couldn't (and still can't) read crochet patterns, so she had me stand behind her chair to watch her make one. I wrote the directions as I watched her and that's how I know how to make a granny to this day.
Mom and Deb
Grace is aptly named. Her name means "favor or blessing", and I know that she's been a true blessing in my life. She taught me about patience, forgiveness and unconditional love. She knows everything about me and has always been one of my greatest cheerleaders. She's laughed with me, and we've shared many tears...happy and sad. This woman knows my heart even better than my own mother or father.
Mom with her granddaughter, Katy. Fall 2011.
In the beginning of 2012, Mom had health problems that made it impossible for her to live in her own home any longer. You might remember that I drove to Wisconsin in March. We were worried and I couldn't wait to see her.

I stayed in her home while she was in the hospital, and then her three daughters went out together to interview care facilities for her. Before I went home to Florida, I saw the place that would become her new home. It was a bittersweet visit.

Mom's settled and comfortable now in her new apartment and she has people there to care for her as she needs it. She has her sewing machine and spends hours sewing or crocheting. The kids frequently "spring" her from her digs to make sure she doesn't feel too cooped up. I'm looking forward to our next visit when I can take her out, too.
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I'm so glad that she's doing well and she's being cared for. No one deserves happiness more than Mom. She's lived an unselfish and loving life and I'm blessed that God made sure that she and I were written into each others books. My story is so much richer because she's in it. I love you, Mom.
Thank you for joining me for my last Memory Lane Monday
I'll be planning something new for 2013, but this is the closing 
chapter for our monthly strolls. I'm so happy you joined me!

If you have a memory to share, please link up with me below.
I'll be over to visit and leave a comment on your story, too.

When I last spoke with Mom, she asked me to do a favor for her. Apparently, after all those years of making granny squares, it seems she's forgotten how to start one. (She can't remember how to chain 5, join, triple crochet, two double crochets into the circle, repeat three more times.) She asked me to get some Red Heart yarn (4-ply) in any color and crochet a box of "centers" for her.  She uses a "K" hook. I'd love it if any of you would like to help. Just let me know and you can send them to me. I'll put them all together in a box to send out to her in the next few weeks. Thanks!

UPDATE: Mom passed away on November 25, 2014. You can click here to read my blog post written the day after. Although she has left earth, I know she will watch over me until God decides we should be together again. Until then, Mom...

9 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Michelle May said...

Tears...streaming down my cheeks. What a beautiful lady she is. Her light shines so brightly. This is such a wonderful story. Happy New Year dear friend.
Love ya!

Createology said...

Donna you are very fortunate that you and Grace have been able to bond in such a special way and at a crucial time in your life. Sharing her family with you is priceless. This is a beautiful tribute post and very special for your final MLM. Thank you so much for hostessing this past year. I have enjoyed being a small part of it. Memories...(musical notes here...) Blessings with Peace and Joy for all of 2013...

The French Bear said...

Dee, what a wonderful story....touched my heart so much, I would be honored to do some red centers for you and "Mom"....... I sadly still have a certain something here for you...this would really help me get over to the post office! I do think I have red heart yarn here if you let me know the color number if there is one, I can get started right away!!!
Hugs and Happy New Year!

Sue said...

You are so lucky to have this lady in your life. I wish I had someone like her. Our own mothers sadly just somehow don't always fit the bill, I know mine doesn't. May she still have many years to come.

Happy New Year

laurajane said...

Lovely post Donna,how this lady has enriched your life.Many she carry on your many years to come.
A very happy New Year to you my friend,I look forward to next years daily doses of Donna(and of course Handsome &Tag.)
Love Laura xx

Andi's English Attic said...

Lovely story of a special lady. xx

Lany said...

Hola querida,

¡Feliz año 2013!


creativedawn said...

Tears as I write this. Your beautiful, heartwarming story reminds me how "strangers" are sometimes closer to us than our own family. Grace is a wonderful woman.
In the early 1990, fate brought me to a younger woman who ultimately had a profound and lasting positive affect on my life. Marlene kept my children for six years until she died in March 1996, just short of her 30th birthday and I have to say she was kind, loving, passionate about children, patient and a great teacher. God sends us Angels, puts them right in our path and there is no mistaking them. They take the sting out of life's pains, shore us up and make our world so much better.
Thank you for sharing this Donna.
Happy New Year!

Linda K. said...

What a beautiful post and a beautiful lady is Grace. A wonderful way to end a great year and bring in a new one here in blogland. Many blessings to you and may you have a great and prosperous new year!



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