Some of my fondest memories with Grandma was when I was grown, and living up here in the States. Every other Sunday I would go and spend the afternoon with her, she would make beef stew or something else amazing like that and I would help her, I would be at her kitchen sink peeling potatoes or washing a pot and she would be in her chair not too far away and we would be talking. We talked about life, if I was going through something at a certain stage in my life she would reminisce that time long ago when she was going through it, too. When I was single and available, she would talk about when she was too. She dated a few men, they would go out on a coke date and have a good wholesome time, but nothing like when she went out on her first date with Grandpa. Around the time I started dating Nubun she told me how she met her love of her life. When I was in preparations for my wedding day, she told me about her simple in home wedding and how happy she was! When I was expecting my first baby she told me about her first baby, my Daddy. It was fun to talk to Grandma because you could talk to her about almost anything and have fun at it too. We would laugh, and sigh and relate and enjoy each others company. We lived our youth in two different eras, but we still had a lot of the same life struggles. "Who does God have for me to marry?" "How should I fix my hair for our first date?" "What kind of wedding dress should I wear?" "Labor contractions REALY DO hurt!" "How do I lose this baby weight?" "Why doesn't my husband like green vegetables?"
Our lives were very different growing up, but that didn't stop us from relating to each other. She told me heart warming stories of her life long love affair with my Grandpa, she told me of her childhood adventures, and those of her two kids. She would talk for hours about her beautiful life, her hard life, her FULL life.
When I was about ready to give birth to my first baby she told me she was living for the day she could hold that baby in her arms. She did! And she lived to hold all three of my babies in her arms. She loved them and they loved her and it was a sweet joy that coated my heart to see.
And now, I sit here in my kitchen, getting ready to get myself and my kids dressed to go see our Grandma, the tears come and roll down my cheeks and off my chin cause I know it will probably be the last time I can hold her hand and kiss her cheek and tell her one last time I love her so much, how her life has made a difference in mine. How her love was felt by me, my husband and my kids. Sometimes I wish she could lift her old bony hand one more time and kiss my little girls and tell them to go get a sucker out of the bowl, I wish the phone would ring one more time and I hear her voice on the other line.
But God is good, He knows what she needs, she needs to let this old body behind and she needs to go home with her Jesus, her husband, her son....
I once asked Grandma if she ever worried about her sons being so far away in a foreign country. She didn't even hesitate to answer. "No. They are safe over there because they are in God's will. I do not worry." So simple. Her faith for her Lord was not complicated.
But it's so hard for me to say good bye. It's her loved ones behind that will be left with a hole in the heart, an empty space, and eyes full of tears. She will be whole, complete, perfect, no more pain, no more sufferings.
I thank The Lord for my Grandma, her life, her testimony and the love she always showered on all those around her.
Life is but a vapor, only there for a little while, and then eternal life.
"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Ps 116:15"
Although its hard to swallow, I must say goodbye for now, I have to let go and let her go see her Jesus, her husband, her son. They are waiting for her on the other side, beyond the pearly gates.
Opal Evelyn Patterson
October 1, 1923 - July 6, 2014
This was the testimony I gave at her funeral.
While visiting with Grandma the rushing around and busy part of my life would just....stop. It was time for hugs and kisses and long peaceful conversations. When I was in her living room sitting across from her, time seemed to slow down, there was this warm and gentle atmosphere about those moments that I will always cherish. when we talked it was all about, well, .....everything! we would share fun stories with each other, and we would make these wonderful memories together doing the simple things in life like sitting at the dinner table eating red beans and cornbread, or playing a game of shoot the moon. Some of my fondest memories was getting out her old hymn books and singing the Gospel hymns together. If Grandma was ever upset about anything, all anyone really had to do was ask her if she wanted to sing with us, she loved singing the old Gospel hymns, she would stop whatever she was doing, sit back, adjust her glasses and sing her worries away.
Grandma was big on some traditions, for example, she didn't think a lady was well dressed unless she was wearing stockings, I grew up in Mexico, it was warm year round and I did not like wearing stockings. Well, usually my visits with her was on Sunday afternoons after church I'd go directly to her house. As soon as I walked in, Grandma would do a sweep of me, compliment my outfit then ask where my stockings were. I always felt bad about that. Not bad enough to wear stockings to church or anywhere for that matter, but bad that I didn't meet her approval. So I kept a pair of knee highs in my car and as soon as I drove into grandmas drive way I'd park my car and reach over and put on my finishing touch of a properly and well dressed lady...my stockings. Then I'd walk in her house, give her a hug and kiss then sat across from her and after I passed her approval I would make a big show about how tired I was of wearing stockings, then I would take them off. I did that a few times then I started falling under conviction for being deceitful. One Sunday as I was walking in her house she looked at my legs and asked me why I was naked legged.
I kneeled in front of her and I said. "Grandma, I know you don't like for me to go out without stockings, but I really don't like them and I don't think I'll ever wear them again."
She leaned forward in her chair and held my face in her hands. I didn't know what she was going to say about my confession but I was dreading it. "Andrea" she said. "You don't need to wear stockings to be my beautiful granddaughter. I love you just the way you are."
And that is how Grandma was, she loved you inspite of what you were, or did differently than her. She loved you anyways!
Grandma loved her Savior, she was faithful to Him, she read her Bible as long as she had the eye sight to do so, she went to church as long as she could physically get there, she prayed for her kids and grandkids daily, and she encouraged me to search for Gods will in my life. She was proud of her two sons, not because they had fame or great wealth, or because they drove a Cadilac and were good looking, (because as you all know, they really were!), but because of this simple fact.
God had called them to the ministry, and they had obeyed.
Towards the end of her life when I would take me little girls over to go see her, I had never seen anyone love like she loved on my babies, it showed in her twinkle of her eyes, in the excitement of her voice and in the warm hugs and granny kisses she would give them, what a blessing!
She had the love of God in her and it overflowed and radiated out to others, and made me want to be a more caring, loving and gentle person myself. Grandma was a wonderful and amazing Mother, wife, grandmother great-grandmother, friend and person, and she will be missed by so so many!
But especially.... By me.
To summarize my grandma in three words...it would be the last three words I heard her spoke, she was talking to me and my husband and my little girls. And I am gonna write it just like she said those three words to us.
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you