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!”
8 thoughts on “Goodbyes”
Enjoyed this and I’ve been thinking about legacy as well! I love my grandchildren and children deeply, ,,thank you fir sharing your thoughts during your time of grief!
What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother! I enjoyed every word!
Young lady, you don’t know me, I have been friends with Tommy longer than you have lived. Became friends with Cathy through Tommy. I know you will be OK by reading you post Keep those special memories in your mind and heart and always know your Nana will be with you in spirit.
That is a beautiful tribute, Jenn. Thanks for posting.
What a fine tribute! What a great legacy this great lady left, so well described! Our parents truly were the greatest American generation!
This is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady. I remember your visits a lot on graywall st!!
Jenn, your memories of your Nana are beautiful and will carry you through these tough times. I know she was proud of you and cherished her own memories with you. I lost my grandfather, Pops, last October 5th. I think of him often and as tears fill my eyes now, I am so thankful that I was blessed with a great man and friend. God Bless you and your family.
An excellent tribute! I enjoy knowing your love of coffee started with your Grandmother!