Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Phyllis Dale Widman

My sweet grandma passed away July 21, 2014.  She was the only grandmother I knew and she was a wonderful one at that.  I was her only granddaughter and we were all spoiled rotten by her.  She was a major part of our lives and I feel blessed to have gotten to know her especially in her older years while we lived close to her and she was still doing well.  I want to put some memories into writing to keep:

  • Girls day out.  Every year right before school started she would take my mom and I and we'd go shopping for new school clothes.  I got to pick out a couple outfits and spend time with the girls.  We'd always go out to eat somewhere yummy.  I looked forward to this every year.
  • One time when she was babysitting us in Casa Grande she took me swimming suit shopping.  I picked out an orange bikini and was trying it on in the dressing room.  I remember her asking me if that was something my mom would let me buy (she didn't quite understand the standards being she wasn't LDS).  I convinced her to get it for me and she told me it was cute.  What a naughty 12 year old I was.  Taking advantage of my sweet grandmother.
  • When we were really young and she was living in Flagstaff one of my favorite memories is of one day when we were playing in a kiddy pool outside in her backyard.  We had some plastic animals we were playing with.  The water was a little chilly (or more so than we were use to) and she kept bring out pots of hot water and dumping in the pool with us to warm us up.  What a sweetheart.
  • When I first told her I was pregnant (this was her first great grandbaby) we were sitting in Famous Dave's (her favorite restaurant).  I told her and she welled up with tears and sat there crying while I did the same.  Mason laughs at us because we were both sitting there silently crying.  She was so excited to be a great grandmother - and boy did she love that baby Boonie.
  • I remember her smell.  I can't explain it but her home, towels, everything about her had a smell.  It was a comforting smell that I'll always remember.  I remember her smile and her silent laugh when she laughed hard.
  • I got to live with her for about 3 months before she moved into the assisted living place.  I was pregnant with Boonie and Mason was going to school at ASU so we spent quite a bit of time together.  One thing that I loved about that time was hearing her prayers.  She spoke to her Heavenly Father as a friend.  She would tell him about what was going on.  She would always give him a weather report.  They were tender sweet prayers.  She always closed with, "And bless us to thy service."  She was a good woman.
  • She was a great house keeper and very organized.  Each closet was always in order.  She also kept fantastic track of her pictures and had photo albums that we loved to look at as kids.  She also had a green thumb.
  • I can only remember her repremending me once - although I'm sure she did other times.  But the one time that stands out was when she and my mom were visiting me in Washington DC.  I was smart mouthing off to my mom like I usually did and she told me, "Stop talking to your mother like that.  You have no idea how much she does for you and how much she worries and loves you."  Bam.  Coming from my grandmother who never said anything harsh... this meant a lot.
  • I have sweet memories of visiting her.  We'd always play games like cootie or skipbo.  That must have been painfully boring for her but she always did.  She'd always tell me I was her favorite.  Whenever we'd leave her house she'd give me a kiss on the cheek and stand outside waving goodbye until we were gone.
  • She was a wonderful example of service.  She was always giving my struggling family money when we were growing up.  She prepared delicious meals and always had us over at her house.  I remember during those meals that she was always the last one to sit down and sometime jokes were even made about it because she was up so much during the meal serving someone.  She loved completely.  I always felt accepted by her.  Mason was welcomed with loving arms and he adores her as well.  I feel as though she always saw the best in other people.  She made friends where ever she went.  Her neighbors always knew her and she always knew what was going on in their lives which meant she cared and I have no doubt that she would serve at a moments notice.  
  • She was a social butterfly.  She always had some event or another that she was attending or something she was involved in.  She caught a second wind when she went to her assisted living place. She suddenly had SO many more activities to attend.  I liked going to visit over there and hearing about everything and meeting her friends.  She had a pretty funny personality.
  • She was so supportive of us in everything we did.  She came to all performances, baptisms, baby blessings, birthdays.  There are so many major events in my life that I remember her being at.  Even the church ones and she never became a member.
  • When I was young I remember her vanity and all the little jewelry boxes on it.  I loved to carefully look through them at all her treasures.  I remember her pink makeup holder that she'd use whenever she came to visit us from Flagstaff.  I use to love to look through that and watch her get ready.  She always enjoyed dressing up and looking nice.  When she came to stay with us in CG she'd always sleep in my room.  On the day after Christmas we'd always go up to her house to celebrate again.  She gave us the greatest gifts!  At the end we'd get a giant food box that was so exciting to go through and there would always be a box of Cheez-Its which were basically the best thing we could ever get.  When she lived in Flagstaff we use to have Sunday conversations on the phone with her.
  • When I was in college she got the internet and she became the queen of mass forwarding emails. She'd always send jokes and things about animals.  They were pretty entertaining.
  • Some of my favorite later memories of her involve while we were living down there in Phoenix either with her or near her.  When we were living with her one day I was helping her go through some things in her closet.  We came across a box of old letters that Granddaddy had written her before they got married.  I sat there and read them to her while she was sitting on her walker.  She was laughing at some of them and crying at others.  It was such a tender moment that I was so thankful to share with her.  I got to hear stories that I'd never heard and watch her remember her 'young love'.
  • Another later memory that I cherish was when I was living with her again.  We went to the grocery store together.  Being we were living there I was preparing the meals and I really wanted to impress her with my culinary skills.  So I had my list and went shopping as I usually do.  I remember being in the produce section and picking up everything I needed.  I looked up at one moment and she was watching from across the room.  With tears in her eyes she later said to me, "I loved watching you at the store today.  It was so fun seeing you all grown up."  I could feel the love.
  • My latest memories with her involve my children.  Oh how she loved them.  When Boonie was a baby I use to take him over to her apartment.  She loved to watch and hold him.  She'd even give him rides on her giant polar bear stuffed animals.  She loved to push him on her walker as well.  She was always interested in what I had to say about my kids.  As she started to age more her favorite thing was to sit and watch the kids.  Even if we had nothing to say to each other I know that just being with them brought her joy.  I'm so thankful that the two got to meet her and she got to meet them.

Grandma and her sisters

I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandma that it's hard to sit down and just write out a few.  She was an example to me in many ways and I hope to be like her one day.  She cared and served so much and she was loved by so many.  I thankful for such a good example in my life.  I feel close to her now and I'm so thankful that I was able to get closer to her during those 3 years in AZ.  It still doesn't seem like she's gone being she's always been there.  I'm thankful that I'll see her again.  I have no doubt that she will be loving my babies from the other side of the veil before they get sent down to me.  She was always such a major part of my life and she will continue to be.  I love you Grandma.

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