You never said ‘I’m leaving’
You never said ‘good-bye’
You were gone before we knew it,
I don’t understanding why,
A million times we’ve needed you,
A million tears we’ll cry,
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we love you still.
In my heart you hold a place,
That no one else can fill.
It breaks our hearts to lose you,
But know right now that you didn’t go alone.
For part of us went with you,
The day you got your angel wings and were taken home.
Cadence Pipenhagen with her Great Grandma:
A reflection of my grandma
Brinn C. Krabbenhoft
I sat on the front porch swing thinking about the passing of my grandma. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about it; there have been times in the past few years that I realized that she was growing older. The first time I ever thought about how much I would miss her and how it would feel was when I heard the song “My Angel” a few years ago. This time when I thought of the song I also had the reality of it being true; grandma has arrived in her forever home.
As I sat on the swing, I looked up that song on my phone. I sat on that swing and in a full-fledged-choked-up-squealing-soprano voice, I sang along. I’m not so sure the neighbors were fans of the rendition, especially at 6 o’clock in the morning.
As I was singing, I became vividly aware of the swing I was sitting on. I realized the swing had become more of a calming representation than “just a swing.” Keep in mind as I tell this story that this swing is a new addition to our home. It’s been waiting on our front porch to be installed for about 2 years. About 2 weeks ago, my loving husband, with the help of a friend, installed it. I can’t help but think there was a plan in place that inspired them to get that swing up… it’s become the perfect place for some quiet reflection, or in this particular case, a place for some seriously sentimental singing.
I realized that our new swing wasn’t swinging front to back like normal. Instead, the swing was picking up speed swinging side to side. I felt like the swing represented the loving arms of my grandma rocking me back and forth. I could imagine sitting in my grandma’s lap surrounded by the smell of her warm apple pie, a couple dozen of the best chocolate chip cookies ever baked, someone’s special birthday cake, and a wedding cake in progress. I could see the unfinished piles of fabric ready to be cut, quilt tops a plenty stacked and ready for proper tying. I could hear the sounds of the ongoing garage sale in the garage right outside and Mr. Rogers on the TV, along with a houseful of giggling, noisy children.
In those arms, just as I had as a child, I felt warm, safe, loved, accepted, joyful, and content. I sat and enjoyed reliving these comforting feelings in that swing… or was it the arms of grandma after all?
Now, my husband is probably giggling to himself. Jason likes to make sure I am reminded of my tendency to exaggerate. And I should probably admit that he’s right. I do. There’s a long list of words that could be used to describe typical Nepsund family traits, and I realized sitting there in that swing and while typing out these thoughts, that exaggerating should be added. See, I realized that it was my grandma who taught me to exaggerate. Possibly she taught my grandpa too; those fish stores are pretty darn entertaining.
I believe she had a way that taught everyone she came into contact with to exaggerate. Exaggerate! Live BIG! I can’t think of another person who exaggerated more than she did. I mean, who sets a goal to make 100 quilts in a year to give away? Who opens up their home and heart to love and care for other people’s children for 37 years? Who gives up nearly every weekend to fill wedding cake orders? Who spends endless hours sorting other people’s discarded belongings, pricing and organizing into a garage-based thrift store, which presented thousands of dollars towards charity work? This lady exaggerated. She exaggerated everything she touched. She knew how to live big. She knew how to serve big. She loved big.
It’s this exaggerated way of living that has caused us exaggerated pain now that she’s gone. It’s her exaggerating way of loving others that we will miss beyond words.
Grandma, you are loved. You are missed. God has taken you home to the most exaggerated palace every built.
If you knew my grandma, our grandma, you know how big she lived, how exaggerated she was in everything she touched. I hope that reading this reminds you of the affect one person can have. If you didn’t know her, I hope that reading this might inspire you to exaggerate yourself a bit. Do an extra good deed, say an extra kind word, take a second and live big.
I invite you all to join us as we celebrate Grandma. Come celebrate with us. Share stories, share memories, exaggerate them. 🙂 Then enjoy a homemade cookie or two.
🙂 It’s what she would have wanted us to do!