Grandma’s Legacy

“Hurry!” my grandmother instructed my mother as she held a tissue to my nose, “get my scissors from the icebox.”   She slapped those icy metal scissors on the back of my neck and told me to put my head between my knees.  “There. Those scissors should cut the nosebleed!” she announced authoritatively.

I was awed by my maternal grandmother’s home remedies. Turns out the icy scissors on the back of my neck actually made sense, not because scissors “cut” the nosebleed, but because the cold metal worked on tightening blood vessels.  The head between the knees thing was all wrong, but almost every cure involved putting your head between your knees back then.

Grandma Marion had a solution for every problem. She was a wise woman and credited the Bible for any wisdom she gained over the years.  She died the day before she would have turned 82.

My Paternal Grandmother

The portrait is of my paternal grandmother, little Sarah Catherine Bish.  My father Joseph was an artist and painted the portrait of his mom.  She was not at all stern, and he captured that impishness in her face.  His one regret was that he could never complete her hands.  Those hands held so much compassion and love that he felt he could not adequately capture it all, and the portrait remains unfinished. Personally I am happy it is unfinished because the story behind the hands is pretty awesome.

Not an inch over 4’8”, Grandmother Sarah Catherine was a powerhouse in her own right.  As a young woman, she was ahead of her time. She was a Suffragette, marching with other women to earn the right to vote.  Along with her friends, she was treated badly and was truly a hero.  She married a widower with three young children and they had two more children. When we would visit her, I heard her reading aloud from her Bible and praying earnestly for all of us.  She died on Christmas day at 87 years old.

I was blessed to have these two women in my life. Neither one owned anything of value except perhaps their wedding rings.  They each had five children but no inheritance to leave them.   I read recently that five generations back in my father’s family, some grandmother bequeathed the household beds, bedding and her clothing to her children at her death.  Apparently in 1815, women didn’t own much either.  But that obituary also said “The old lady has departed to the tomb, and it is hoped she will rest in peace — at the final resurrection; rise triumphant.”   I know we have some scoundrels in our family tree, but the Godly legacy left by our ancestors trumps the behaviors of the “scalawags” (to quote Grandma Sarah).

What Can Grandmother Add to Your Family Connections?

Proverbs 13:22  states “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…”  KJV.   I was always sure that meant someone in every family tree was going to leave their heirs a fortune. That didn’t happen exactly in our family, but we did get an inheritance from them.  We got what we needed more than transient earthly goods, and that was a knowledge of God.

The Message version says it this way:  “A good life gets passed on to the grandchildren; “(© 2002 Eugene H. Peterson) (emphasis mine).  I may not have anything spectacular to leave my children, but I am grateful for the people before me who gave me their best to hand down to my heirs.  Silver? Gold? Land? Houses? No, it is the knowledge that they can also become children of the King. Priceless.

Do your children have grandparents in their lives to add to the fabric of their character and to their memories?  If not, why not consider “adopting” a grandma and grandpa to fill those shoes? You could choose someone involved with a senior center, or someone in a senior living facility.  A simple call to a local facility’s social worker might be helpful in locating just the right senior who could use the love and care of a family needing grandparents.  I have read many stories of adults crediting their grandparents or their adopted grandparents or “my amazing elderly neighbor” for being their anchor in difficult times.  Think about it.  Pray about it.  Then make that call and watch your life and the lives of your children bloom before your eyes.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, contact me.

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One comment

  1. Love this story and the history behind what is truly a blessed inheritance! It’s so true when the Bible says “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6. This legacy and inheritance is continuing to be handed down through your children and now grandchildren!
    Thank you God for Great Grandparents that knew you and knew the importance of teaching their children to follow you!
    (Great job, love this article!!!)

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