Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Tribute to Louise

On Wednesday my grandma Louise died at the age of 91. She was my last and most cherished grandparent, and her passing left a hole in my heart and in those of the family and friends who gathered to remember her. At her visitation and funeral this weekend, I was abundantly reminded (and learned a few new things) about rich and compassionate a life she led. If you knew her in any capacity, you no doubt have fond memories of her constant, selfless concern for others, her priceless smile, or maybe her delicious oatmeal.

Whenever my family came out to Walnut Grove to visit, she would have a warm bed and a hand-knitted pair of slippers for us (as well as the aforementioned bowl of oatmeal in the morning). She would set the table with care for meals grand and small; each one was a time to grow closer and love each other as a family. She would help hide Easter eggs for the grandchildren to find, and give hints to us when we weren't sure where to look. When grandpa's health kept him from going to Christmas service, she and her children brought a Christmas pageant to him, put on by all of us, making all of the costumes we wore. These are only a few of the memories I have of her, and even they are only from the last 20 or so years of her life. Even when she got too frail to express her love for us in these ways, her graciousness and habit of putting others first made her the favorite in her assisted living community; several of her nurses showed up to her visitation.

So during the funeral yesterday, as her nephew was reading a eulogy that better expressed what I was trying to say, I realized not only how great a grandma she was, but how much of a role model. I wondered, "What if I did theology the way grandma kept her home?" Obviously it takes a lot of abstraction to transfer home economics to biblical studies, but still, her example puts flesh and blood on so many of the teachings of the Savior whom she loved. Some answers I can think of to this question:

I would seek to write about God in a way that illuminates peoples' hearts, minds, and spirits, not just satisfying my own private search for truth or impressing people with my insights.

I would show concern and compassion in my words for everyone, even if I disagree with them.

I wouldn't take myself too seriously. In fact, I wouldn't think much about myself at all.

I would try to know peoples' needs and bless them in ways they didn't even expect.

What about you? Who is someone in your life who has modeled Christlike character like my grandma Louise? What lessons can you learn from them to apply to your own life?


  1. Beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. David, thank you for lifting Louise up with your words and in a way she never would do herself. What a great grandma -- what a wonderful mother-in-law -- what a wonderful person! She had a grasp on the the true meaning of "being" that seemed beyond this world -- simply -- to love. Her absence in this world will be beyond measure for anyone who had the fortune to know her. I'm so glad I did.