To the Moon and Back

You will not meet a more delightful person than Grandma Lloyd.  I remember President Hinckley once said that sarcasm was an insulting form of humor.  Obviously, he had never met Grandma.  Her gracious sense of humor made my world turn at times, and always kept me on my toes.

In my younger years, she lived just across the street, and we would stop in to visit almost daily.  She always had a homemade chocolate cake on a platter in the kitchen.  But it was not the cake that drew us there.  She was magnetic.  She understood children so well, and she made us feel completely safe.  My fondest memories are of watching her tap dance as she would sing some old tune.  She would hold her hands out daintily and look intently at us, smiling broadly, as she tapped back and forth across the entry way tile, unfazed by our embarrassed giggles.

She was a worrier, and hated the thought of us crossing busy 9400 South.  We would ignore her pleas to cross at the traffic light down the street.  If ever we would come by in the morning, she would scurry out in her mumu (she loved those things), and guide us across the busy road amid her worried screams.

I also loved to watch Grandma interact with her three sons.  The three of them were keenly aware of Grandma’s anxious manner, which would cause her to sometimes disregard common sense.  My uncles had a playful way of preying on her naievete.  This ritual seemed to be their way of reminding each other just how deeply (and blindly) Grandma loved them.

Grandma had her signature ways of expressing her love, marked, of course, by hyperbole.  She would always call me “Jeffer”, and say to us, “I love your guts,” or “I love you to the moon and back.”

She passed away last Sunday morning.  I flew in to Salt Lake just in time to spend a treasured Saturday with her.  I will not forget the way she locked her eyes on me as soon as I entered her bedroom.  It was a look I had seen a thousand times before.  Notwithstanding her physical limitations, the day was full of precious exchanges–trademark expressions that I had taken for granted so many dozens of times before that day.  Every moment was utterly delightful.  But hidden among those lovely smiles, I would see from time to time a muted glance or a furrowed brow, and it made me wonder just how much she was enduring in that frail little body of hers.  The doctors had sent her home with morphine, but she knew that while it would help with the pain, it would also compromise her ability to engage.  When we asked how she was doing, she would respond with a simple, “I’m okay,” as if to say, “this is worth it.”

I am richly blessed with countless delightful memories of Grandma Lloyd.  But none will sink as deeply as those last moments at Grandma’s bedside.  Love is easy to express most of the time.  Love expressed in sacrifice convicts the conscience.

To the Moon and Back

Dimly through the glass, I see her lying bravely there.
Each smirk a costly gem, each smile a priceless token.
Meekly now, I clasp her hand, and as her eyes meet mine,
I read the verses never penned, the sermons never spoken.

In a subtle flash I sense the strain that assails her little frame.
But from her cup she did not shrink, nor did her will contend.
Deeply now, her love abides, and there it will endure;
In agony she sealed me hers, to the moon and back again.

JN

Love and Virtue

In a timid thought by chance I traced
A faint and fleeting path.
Like a rabbit trail it seemed too shy
To promise much to any traveler.
And more than once, I lost sight of it among my gadding thoughts.
But as a nerve would spurn against the body’s foes,
So my senses seemed to meekly guide me there.
And once resigned to hope, I trod that road
Beyond the thoroughfares of strife.

JN