Nadene Griffin moved out of her modest log house this Spring. She moved into Hospice care after ninety-three years of taking caring of everybody else. Nadene is my Meme.
She went to be with Jesus yesterday. I got to see her one last time (on this side of eternity) about a month ago. She looked terribly uncomfortable and drifted in and out of sleep in the bed which had become her final earthly address. It didn’t stop her from being the blessing that she was.
Her room, like every other room in her wing, only held two beds, a tray on wheels, her wheelchair, a chair and a television. Still, she told my mother and sister and I to get ourselves a piece of toast before we sat down (there was no toast.)
I noticed her paper-thin skin as I rubbed lotion on her tiny arms. She had little breath to ask about Jason and the kids though her eyes showed her intent to listen to the stories I had to tell.
After catching her up on my goings on, she remembered out loud that she'd never given my brother the peanut brittle recipe he'd asked for. Between her eyes fluttering open and shut, her mind went again to feeding those she loved as she directed us to check the food in the oven. Worn out, with little energy to spare, and a mind that was playing tricks on her, she was still serving. That's who my Meme was. She was a servant.
In the 1980's she and my Grandad hauled the oldest of us grandkids to campgrounds in Texas and Colorado. We piled into the back of their Chevy truck (with a camper shell) traveling hundreds of miles in comfort on a mattress that fit perfectly in the truck bed. My Meme fed us hot meals at camp. We were never without cookies (Her oatmeal raisin were the best.)
She taught us to serve too. One night the boys would be in charge of snacks (serving cookies and making Kool-Aid) while the girls prepared a devotion. The next night we'd switch. She was a fan of evangelizing and welcomed neighboring campers to our site.
It wasn't long before there were too many grandkids to take along. There were fourteen before the greats and great-greats were around. Not all of the grandkids may have gotten to travel with Meme and Grandad. There was still always plenty of energy inside the walls of her home.
Every Christmas she would have an entire wall full of stockings for the grands. She had notebooks where she would keep up with "who she was getting what". She took the whole year to shop and afford the bounty of gifts she provided.
Every Thanksgiving she served a houseful. Lunch at her house resembled "the feeding of the five thousand." There was always more than enough. Meme was ready for whatever came at her.
Meme was prepared to enter eternity too. She trusted Jesus and made it known that she wanted us to trust him too. We'll see her again someday.
Until then she's left an important legacy. She won't be remembered for a big house, or salon-styled hair, or fancy jewelry. That I know of, she never spoke before crowds or lead marches. But she taught us to serve. She taught us to look to the needs of others, never asking for any attention for herself. In her last days she reminded me that it's never too late nor is there too small a way for us to offer ourselves to one another.
She leaves behind more grands, great grands and great great grands than I have count of at the moment. I believe that there's a little piece of Meme in each us. That's a lot of love. We've got work to do.
Please pray for my Grandad. Their love story is one for the books and I know he misses her.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.