I wore pearls for my grandmother's funeral. Not the strand she'd given me, it wasn't the right length for my shirt. But I wore pearls nonetheless, and pearl studs in my ears. I will always associate pearls with my grandmother...perhaps partly because of her June birthday, but always because of her classic, polished beauty.
Before my grandfather died almost a year ago, he requested that Galatians 5:22-23 be read at his funeral: "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
My uncle, likely at my grandmother's request, asked me to choose the scripture reading for hers.
My selection was Proverbs 31:25-31:
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruits of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates."
There is no better description of my grandmother's quiet strength or the great love between her and my grandfather. I have so much peace knowing that they are together, their minds and bodies whole.
From the moment I had my own apartment, my grandmother's presence was there...in a tablecloth, a cup and saucer in a retired china pattern that I dearly love, in an assortment of things purchased abroad and brought back for grandchildren. After her death she has invaded my space even more strongly....with a lavender cardigan, a carved strand of amethyst beads, an assortment of gloves, a suit to be altered.
When I look in the mirror now , I see much more of the steely determination underlying her quiet grace than I used to. I'm grateful for that. At the end of the day....I am the granddaughter of Claude and Sammie Davidson and Max and Marie Vanderford. Wide open spaces, a love for growing things and the ability to do the impossible are in my blood, just as much as my red hair and ugly feet.