Today I was forced to say goodbye to my role-model, partner in crime, comforter, and rock. As my little brother Karter said, she was the best friend a guy could ask for. My Grandma was my world, which came completely crashing down around me.
I somehow dug deep and found the strength and composure to read this at her service.
We didn't get the privilege of being around our other grandparents when we were younger, so my Grandma Skiles has filled all of those positions and beyond. She raised her 3 sons as a single, widowed mother, helped raise her grand kids, and even tolerated the pets that came along with them. We've all got different types of memories when it came to playtime with Grandma, but I can remember her taking me on adventures when we were both younger, like to the park, or to garage sales and the U-Save shop. When it got to the point that she couldn't get out and about, we'd still find plenty of trouble to get into around the house. We used to play beauty shop and grocery store, with her taking great care in handling all of my treasures and making sure that my quote "credit cards" didn't get declined. No matter what time of day we were at her house, there was always plenty of food and snacks to be eaten, honeybuns and lunchmeat being the favorites, usually while watching some sort of cartoons. To burn off all that energy we would either walk ferocious laps around the border of her area rug, or put on some jazzy dance shows for her while Soul Train played in the background. While she really enjoyed her granddaughters, having raised all boys, she always held a soft spot for the grandsons. My little brother Karter's favorite pastime with her was playing cars, even though she couldn't leave her chair. And even though he was a handful, she called him her "rough and tumble Tarzan." I completely and 100% cherished every second that I had with her, and the fact that she got to see me walk down the aisle and hold my newborn son is absolutely priceless. Up until the very end she was still tossing around words such as "Hawaiia" [Huhh-why-uhh] instead of Hawaii, "Walmark" instead of Walmart, "Arnold Schwartzenfinger" instead of Schwarzenegger, and still throwing a fit about "Ol' Ophria Winfrey." She had that ornery twinkle in her eye even during her last few days, and although she could be silly, she was still such a Strong-willed woman, and I think that we've all learned a tremendous amount from her. She grew up during the Great Depression, lived abroad, and even helped assemble bombs during World War II. Knowing that my pint-sized Grandma accomplished all of those extremely tough feats gives me such a great amount of respect for her not only as a person, but as a woman. She showed me that I can do anything if I set my mind to it, and to never give up on something that's worth fighting for. I hold her on a pedestal, and she has a very special place in my heart. I'm so proud to have called her my Grandmother, and I'm honored that my baby had the privilege of having her as his Great-Grandma. She meant the world to us, and we're all going to be lost in this world without her. We love you Grandma, and can't wait to give you a hug and see you again someday.
This was the verse that we had printed in her cards at the funeral.
God looked around His garden and He found an empty place. He then looked down upon the earth and saw your tired face. He put His arms around you and lifted you to rest. God's garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best. He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain. He knew that you would never get well on earth again. He saw that the road was getting rough, and the hills were hard to climb. So He closed your weary eyelids and whispered "Peace Be Thine." It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn't go alone. For part of us went with you the day God called you home.
This isn't real, this kind of stuff doesn't happen to me. I still find myself thinking about calling her, only to be slapped with harsh reality. It's like a nightmare that I can't wake up from, my Grandma can't be gone forever. I know I'll see her again someday, but it's agonizing to be apart from her here on this Earth. The only way I can let her go is to know that she's been reunited with the love of her life, my Grandpa, who died when my Dad was only 5. I can only imagine how happy she is, and how beautiful she is now that her everlasting youth has been restored. I knew she couldn't live forever, but she's pulled through so many times when we thought she wouldn't. I'm so grateful for the chance I got to say goodbye to her, and for her to meet Sawyer. I know that she's smiling down on us, and I couldn't think of a better person to have for a guardian angel.
The grandkids arrangement.
Two roses for her 2 great grandsons.
She loved the Geico lizard from the commercials, so I got this for her a couple Christmas' ago. This picture is priceless, she found joy in the simple things in life.
She was absolutely breathtaking, the perfect depiction of a vintage beauty.
I love seeing her in her younger days, living carefree. This is how I like to imagine her life being now.
Lola Marie Skiles
January 5, 1923 - November 25, 2010