A December Home-going

My Grandmothers' Bowls

Both of these yellow bowls are family heirlooms, if something so simple can be an heirloom (to me, the answer is very much “yes”).

The sunny Pyrex bowl in back belonged to my paternal grandmother, who died before I graduated from high school. A month after my grandfather died, twenty years later after Grandma, just a few years ago now, Dad brought a box of things from their home to me, including Grandma’s Pyrex bowls. They’re actually a gift from my beloved Aunt Judy, who knows I, like herself and my grandmother (her mother, of course) and great-grandmother, love cooking and baking, and kindly wished me


My paternal great-grandmother and grandmother, working on the family farm in Iowa, 1953.

to have them.

Those who’ve known me for a while have surely heard me talk about my Grandma Sally and endured my tales of her simple but fantastically good all-American cooking and baking, and her well-used bowls gained an instant place of pride in my kitchen—not incidentally, beside the pale blue Fire-King given to me by the aforementioned great-grandmother.

The butter-yellow stoneware bowl in the foreground belonged to my maternal grandmother, who it seems I christened “Nannie” when a toddler still learning to talk. Her first name is my middle. She didn’t enjoy cooking and baking as quite as much as Grandma Sally (I’ve told you about the still semi-frozen Christmas turkey that finished cooking in portions via the microwave to the sound of chuckling and giggling, right?), but among other fine characteristics, she did appreciate lovely things, and filled her home with them; some were practical, like the bowl, but of course, as women are often wont to do, others were just there to grace the home with loveliness.

I don’t know where this simply pretty and very sturdy bowl came from, but it fit the home of my maternal grandparents well and I’m sure dished out all kinds of good food. It was given to me last summer, when my grandfather, preparing to sell the home they’d lived in for so long, suggested the family come pick up anything they’d like, and was also given an affectionate place of honour in my kitchen.

Monday, Nannie went home to be with the Lord.  She has been sick for some time, and her state has become increasingly distressing over the past couple of months and particularly the last few weeks. Though we will all miss her, the family is in agreement: her death was a merciful thing, for had she been aware of her state near the end, she’d have been beyond mortified and found it an infuriating insult to the active, curious, laughter-filled life she’d lived.

For her sake, I wish she’d never gotten so ill, that she’d passed in her sleep or something of that nature. But that, for whatever reason God has, wasn’t His will. I don’t know why, but can’t be angry, because now she’s with Him.

Nannie’s illness was such that for the past couple of years she needed nonstop, round-the-clock care. Unfortunately, we, the family, could not continue keeping up with that, particularly some of the everyday necessary medical aspects, so with regret, we had to find an assisted living home for her. Though not thrilled, she did seem to adjust as well as a person can, even making a couple of friends, passing out the afghans she’d made to other residents, and enjoying family visits that even pets were allowed to join in on, all while getting that vital professional care. But lately, (and oddly, especially since it seemed to intensify after the house was sold) every morning, she would pack her things and go sit by the front office, telling staff her husband and children were coming to pick her up to take her back home.

Of course, they couldn’t. Her grandchildren couldn’t.

But Monday, Jesus did come to take her Home, and that one, she’ll never have to leave.

Goodbye, Nannie. I’ll miss you. xoxoxo


We would appreciate your prayers. This year has been quite painful when it comes to losing loved ones.


One thought on “A December Home-going

  1. You, and your family, are in my prayers, Jen. I know all too well the heartache of losing a loved one, having lost my mama two and a half years ago. It still aches, but I am confident she is with Jesus, so that helps some. I’m glad you have these bowls as a tangible connection with your Nannie — there’s comfort to be found in holding a keepsake of whatever kind, knowing that at some point in time that same keepsake was held or used by the one being missed.

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