October Reflections

Today we celebrated the life of my grandfather, just 3 weeks after the funeral of my grandmother. It has been a shock for all of us to lose both of them in such a short time. They were married for 65 years and had 5 children, one of those being my mom. I’ve reflected on the life they lived over the past few weeks and I am so very grateful for the blessing of family and the legacy they’ve given me.

My grandparents were people of faith. They loved God and loved their family. Some of my first memories of church and Sunday school were in the church where they were married, attended throughout their life and where Grandpa was remembered today. It was the church where I heard the gospel for the first time, where I looked for Grandpa to peek in the classroom door taking attendance and where I remember sitting with Grandma while she traced circles on my arm during the sermon to help keep me still. I was saved there and was taught from the time I was very small that Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

After church on Wednesday nights, Grandma would take us to her house where we would share a snack of sour cream and chive crackers. She bought them for me from the vending machine at the hospital where she worked in the lab. I felt special knowing she thought enough of me to get them each week. I can’t eat one now without being transported back to sitting across from her at the chrome kitchen table having a snack.

Grandma and Grandpa’s house was a place the family gathered Sunday noon for lunch, catching up, and afternoon Faspa. We played Uno and other card games while Grandpa and my uncles watched whatever ballgame was on TV. I remember seeing baby cousins there for the first time and when I was really lucky getting to hold them on the gold recliner in the living room.

If you happened to show up after Grandma had ‘drawn the drapes’ for night, you’d have to wait for her to unlock first the wood door (both locks) and then the screen door. She’d open the door and exclaim “Well lookie there! Come on in, I didn’t expect to see you!” You could be sure she’d get a snack for you, heat up a cup of coffee for Grandpa, and then come back to sit down and talk.

My Grandpa worked for the post office for years. His route home for lunch took him right in front of the window of my Kindergarten classroom. When I saw his truck drive by, I’d wave my little arm as hard as I could just sure he could see me inside. Sometimes he would and he’d honk and wave back. It was my own personal parade most days.

As I got older, I could always count on Grandpa to quiz me on the states and their capital cities. He knew them all so if I didn’t, he’d be sure to tell me which ones I got wrong. We’d chat about the birds he’d seen at the feeder that morning and the tomatoes or beans growing in the garden.

My Grandparents loved God and it was evident in their daily lives. I don’t ever remember the kitchen table without Grandpa’s glasses, his Bible and the Our Daily Bread devotional beside it. As he got older and lost his eyesight, not being able to read the Bible for himself was something he grieved terribly. My mom bought him large print, extra large print, and eventually a digital option on his phone so she could make the font as large as possible for him to read.

I’ll never forget the way Grandpa prayed. He wasn’t eloquent, but spoke to God as though he was speaking to someone he knew well. He was straightforward and often told it like it was. I remember many family meals hearing Grandpa pray and his voice would crack as he would pause and thank God for his family and ask blessing upon them. We knew each child and grandchild was prayed for by name on a daily basis.

While they weren’t perfect (none of us are), they did the best they knew how to raise their children to love God and each other. I am blessed to have benefited from this love and purpose.

Death of a loved one, often prompts us to reflect on our own life and what we want others to remember about us. We ponder what they’ll reminisce about and what memories and traditions they’ll pass on. The things I remember fondly about my Grandparents were probably just ‘everyday’ things to them in the moment, but they are the moments that have stuck with me as I’ve raised my family.

I think of how I saw them live out their love for Christ, their church, and their family in the little things and day to day activities. I’ve come to realize that maybe those really are the big things that shape who we are and what we value in life.

In our home, we gather with family on Sunday for dinner together, I trace circles on my kiddo’s arms during the sermon but most of all, I pray that I pass on a love for Christ and family to my children and my children’s children.

So while we grieve the loss of my grandparents, I am deeply thankful for the life they lived and the way they showed me, in every day ways, what the most important things in life are.

In Loving Memory of my grandparents, Don and Frieda Quiring.