Friday, February 10, 2012

Grandma Betty

On February 3, my Grandma Betty Lou Peterson passed away. My dad's mom. I haven't talked about it much, just quietly remembering things as my days go on. A few days before she passed, my dad sent this text to me and my sisters. I wanted to make sure I typed it out so I wouldn't lose it in my phone.

"I am here feeling and considering what a great example and role model my mom is for the women in my life. First, through thick and thin, she was a hard worker and committed to doing good. My dear dad put her through hell, but she remained faithful and in love with him, to the point that she made sure she got sealed to him in God's house. Remember I had the great honor or being proxy for him in the temple? I will never forget that day. Someday, I will tell you more about that. She was so loyal and true to her children, again, through the thick and thin we put her through. Her life was not a fairy tale life. She did not make good choices early in her life. I must apply her great example more fully in my life. It is so fitting that she can leave this life so peacefully, as she kept her first estate. She ultimately did as her Father (and her great earthy parents) asked her to do. I am so grateful that she can be forever a great example to us all. I love you and the other great women in my life. I know you will have great lives like my sweet mother."

What do I remember about my grandma? I remember her house. On Canal Street in Auburn, CA. She always hated the name "Canal Street". She had a lemon tree in her backyard and I used to bring one home with me on the drive back to Utah and smell it the whole way home. She had a room in her house with dog wallpaper. She had a white shag rug that looked like a dead bear. She had one of those cushy toilet seats.

Once when I was 12, I got to fly to California on my own and visit her. During my stay, we went to visit a lady from church. Grandma wanted to check in with her, said she didn't come to church much. This woman's house was a disaster. Much like the houses you see on "Hoarders". And this woman was probably 400 pounds. As a 12 year old, I had a hard time understanding why my grandma wanted to sit in this woman's house and be her friend. But she did. Through out visit, she talked to this woman instead of staring at her messy house. She laughed and chatted and asked her about her life and if there was anything she could do to help out.

When Grandma would come to visit us in Utah, she would sweep the kitchen floor a lot. She liked to sweep. And she would wake up early and unload the dishwasher so us little girls didn't have to do it. She would do crossword puzzles endlessly, I suppose that is where my dad got his knack for words.

I would say the one thing that sticks with me the most about Grandma Betty is one story I think about often. When we still lived in California, we came to Utah for a visit and my Grandma was visiting at the same time. I pulled a load of our clothes out of the dryer and sat down at the kitchen table next to her to fold it. She asked if I wanted help folding. As we folded and chatted, I watched my grandma closely. With her old, arthritic hands, she folded very precisely. My underwear is delicate and doesn't fold well, but Grandma Betty was so careful to fold them just right. She wasn't fast, but she was thoughtful in her folding. It taught me a lot. To leave my mark on all I do. To bring back homemaking as an art form.

I will miss my grandma, but take comfort in knowing she is in Heaven with Grandpa Jack. And maybe while she is there, she can drop Ethan's mom Carol a line and introduce herself. I think Carol would want to get to know her grandchildren's wonderful great grandma.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I have a Grandma Betty too - and she is one of the most influential woman in my life. Grandmas are special - and they leave a mark on our hearts and lives. - MarieD

  2. Grandma Betty sounds like a lady I'd like to know. Maybe someday.

  3. You are a lucky granddaughter! Your Dad said wonderful things today and was so sweet when he talked about her at the service ♥ Her kind, feisty, amazing spirit will be missed