One of the hymns sung at church today was an old favorite of mine: “Balm in Gilead“. I have loved this one since I was a little girl. I’m not sure why, I just found that it gave me peace in my heart. This being as is was, I was particularly touched by hearing this song at my grandmothers funeral. My grandmother was a really neat person. I think one of the saddest things about grandparents is that most of us don’t really get to know our grandparents when we are adults so that we can appreciate their knowledge and experience. I was one of those very blessed individuals who had all four of my grandparents until I was 24. I even have a set of grandparents that I “adopted” from my husband.
My paternal grandmother was a great lady. My grandfather seemed to think that he married up – and who am I to argue? All I know is that I was blessed with two very loving, intelligent, and caring people to call family. My grandmother raised 7 children and lived to see (at least a picture just after birth) my fifth child. One of the things that I value about my grandmother is that when we were children, she didn’t talk to us like most grandmothers talk to children. She talked to us like people. Like real people with thoughts and opinions on things in life. She never made us feel like we could only be interested in dolls and cookies. And as soon as we were able, she would ask us what we thought about life, politics, the catholic church, the world, anything really. She was a learned woman, probably partly because she was so widely read. When I think about time we spent at her house I have dominant memories of her reading in her chair at night – perhaps the news paper, or maybe a book.
She gave her opinion when asked but didn’t bust in where she wasn’t wanted. She didn’t overwhelm my mother with advice in raising her children but was ready with suggestions if she was asked. She was very reasonable but had high expectations. Somehow, we all managed to live up to the expectations – and maybe that was the point.
So there is a line in the song:
“And if you lack for knowledge, He’ll never refuse to lend.”
This makes me think of my grandmother because she never shrank from learning something new and I do believe that it kept her young. She knew that if she wanted to learn something, she had the God-given talent to do so if she tried. I’m sure that is where I get my ability to try new thing from as this attitude was passed down from her to my father and then to me.
It has been just over a year since we bade farewell to her the final time and I am still grieving the loss. But I am also still counting her existence in my life as one of my greatest blessings. This is by no means an exhaustive account of her life. In fact, it tells very little about her. But she is on my mind today, as she is many days, and I just felt like talking about her. I hope that my children will someday know a little about her and appreciate where they come from.
In loving memory of Barbara J. Pohl, may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Peace and health,