August 17th

This day holds a lot of memories and emotions, both joyful and painful.

On August 17th, 1954, my grandparents Donald and Lorraine Anderson got married. It was a Tuesday evening in a little church in Madison, Nebraska.

On August 17th, 2010, my grandmother Lorraine ended her journey on earth and the pain of cancer, and went to be with Jesus.

The in-between years, those are the years I am so very thankful for. Because of those years, I have a sweet, amazing mother, awesome uncles (and aunts and cousins), and a legacy of hard work, family fun and dedication.

We would gather at Grandpa and Grandma Anderson’s house for the holidays- Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and birthdays. The kitchen would be spilling over with all the women helping with the cooking, the guys trying to snitch a bite of something tasty before the meal. We couldn’t all fit around the dining room table so card tables were set up, plates and forks and napkins put out, all ready to feast together. Often we would all squeeze together in the kitchen, my grandparents and their two boys and one girl, the spouses of these grown-up children and all fifteen grandchildren. My grandpa would pray and I remember more than once how he got choked up as he thanked God for all the people crowded together in that room.

My grandpa suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for many years before his death in 2009. In 2004, a couple of weeks before the oldest grandchild (me) headed off to college, we gathered once again at my grandparents house to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Those 50 years hadn’t been easy, and the trials were not over, but we came together to celebrate the richness of lives lived as one, united in love and held together by God’s strength. It was hard for my grandpa to carry on a conversation by that point, but he managed to tell a joke just like old times (although he could never quite get to the punch line). We all laughed together (and I’m pretty sure we cried too), took funny pictures and made more precious memories.

Sometimes I wanted to ask my grandma, “If you had it to do over again, knowing how hard it would be, would you say yes?” I never did ask that question, but truthfully I don’t have to. She meant her vows, repeated on her wedding day and lived out every day for 56 years. It is fitting to me that she died on her wedding day because she exemplified to me what a woman and wife of faith should look like.

So on this day, I am thankful for the legacy left to me by my grandparents. I am thankful for my family, for such precious memories shared with cousins and aunts and uncles and the gifts that God gives as He weaves together the tapestry of our story.

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