Dear Grandma Lois,
When I was growing up I didn’t appreciate all you did and the amazing person you were. I saw you all the time because we lived so close. The “Memory Bible Verses Box” you had made for us, along with the index cards with the verses was nice, but I cast them aside. I don’t remember you being very mobile. Since I can remember, you had to have help doing things. When I was diagnosed with MS, I was scared because I was the youngest person I knew with MS. Everyone else was immobile and old. When you passed away years later (after putting up quite a fight, I might add), I was sad because we’d miss you here, but I rejoiced because for the first time in YEARS, you could cook and dance and do whatever your body had been restricting you from doing here on earth. You were with Jesus, and that’s a joy in itself.
Now I think back and remember you. I loved that you made the “Memory Bible Verses Box,” and I wish I had held onto it a bit more tightly. Family friends talk about how much you inspired them with your always-positive attitude. You were put in a nursing home early, because Grandpa couldn’t care for you by himself anymore, and that’s okay. Everywhere you went was brighter, because I don’t think you could help but shine for your God. Your smile stayed bright, though your eyes showed your thinking slowing down as MS affects so many. People tell me that I have a positive attitude that inspires them, but I credit my Jesus. Just as he gave you a positivity that inspired and still inspires people, I have been given the opportunity to shine for him in that way, as well.
Visiting you in the nursing home in Minneota, MN, tugged at my heart as I met other residents you stayed with. I loved playing music for you and everyone else that happened to be there, as well. This year, I started dating Doug. Oh, I wish you could meet him! You’d love him. But he’s working in a nursing home this year and has been telling me about it. I didn’t realize how depressing nursing homes can be, because you were never depressed where I saw you. And then I heard about this ministry the church I’m attending in Sioux Falls does called the LOOP (loving-on-our-people). Part of that ministry goes into nursing homes and brings church to them. As soon as I could, I started helping out there. Bringing a light into nursing homes? What a brilliant idea! Bringing Jesus into nursing homes can do as you once did, and cast out the depressing and hopeless feelings there. Grandma, I want to continue this ministry even when I move. I don’t know what all I’ll be doing, but I want to do that. I have even accepted the fact that someday, I may have to go into a nursing home earlier than most of the old people because of the MS. Not that I’ve given up and am waiting for that, but for some reason, the nursing home (in general, none specific) is on my heart.
I wish you could see me now, Grandma. My faith has grown so much. I’m getting married, and moving kind of far away. I also wish I could see you now, in your new body where sickness is no more. But I remember that it won’t be too long until I’ll join you, and we can dance and run and skip together, praising Jesus all day long.
Your Favorite Olson Granddaughter (I won’t tell),