Dear Selmer & Anita,
I savored the moments we had. Our time together was precious, sacred. You were my husband’s grandparents, so I didn’t get a lifetime with you, but I treasure the years I got. The imprint you left on my heart is irreplaceable, the legacy you left, undeniable.
You demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit like no other. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control flowed from your lives. Neither of you ran short of a single one.
Selmer, you were kind, funny, and wise. You were a man of unwavering faith that stood the test of time through all your years as pastor. Seth and I had the great blessing of being married by you, and two out of our three children were baptized by you. My heart sank when I realized our third child would be the only one NOT baptized by you. What beautiful gifts you gave. Thank you so much. When it was time for you to go, Seth and I were privileged to visit you in the most beautiful hospice house I’ve ever seen. It was warm and welcoming, and peace was present in a way I can still call up today. Your family sang over you, and we talked as if you heard every word we said. We hugged and kissed you one last time. Tears of sadness and joy streamed as we walked out of the room, knowing your passing to the eternity you so firmly believed in, was drawing near.
Anita, you were dignified, lovely, and gracious. You were a woman of faith, a quiet but steadfast faith. You graced the room with your presence, made your way around a small crowd effortlessly, and knew how to make a person feel comfortable under any circumstance. Christmas and birthday cards arrived adorned with your delicate, precise, and beautiful handwriting. And your lemon meringue? It was to die for, the best I’ve ever had. Sweet delights were plentiful in your house, ready to be pulled out at a whim when we dropped by any Saturday afternoon. You rolled cookies and lefse paper thin, the first bite of either, a moment we all reveled in. My maternal grandmother passed when I was 10, my paternal grandmother passed in my first year of college, just weeks after Seth and I started dating the spring of 1995. And I met you in the fall of 1995 – your entrance into my life was perfectly timed. My two biological grandmothers had passed, but I was blessed with a third, you, who I happily called grandma.
But there’s more to your story than baptisms, lemon meringue, beautiful home-goings, and Christmas cards adorned with delicate handwriting.
Yes, Selmer and Anita, the most precious gift you gave was your model of marriage. Bound by faith, you were living examples of what it means to love and respect. Your commitment to one another was unwavering. You proved all the statisticians wrong when you fulfilled your promise ’till death do us part, and made us believe it really is possible to have love that lasts a lifetime.
Thank you for helping us believe when the world wants us to doubt.
So Seth and I would like to model our marriage after yours. Our dream, to pass along your legacy of loving, committed marriage that lasts a lifetime – for our children, for our grandchildren, for our great-grandchildren and beyond.
Grandma snuggles in tight. She rests two fingers quietly on her husband’s belt. Grandpa stands proudly next to his grandson and granddaughter-in-law for a picture. Their first great-grandbaby is due to arrive in three short months; their daughter’s behind the camera, and her husband watches from the sidelines, smiling. The story is being written, it’s a beautiful passing of the torch from one generation to the next.
In loving memory,
*If you’d like to read more from my #31Days Letters to the Unthanked series, click here for the landing page where all the letters are listed and linked!