Today is about sweet memories and those special people in my life, who I may not see or touch today, but who still live in my heart, always…
…To my Grandma Shellenberger, you held and rocked me every day until I was nine months old, putting miles on that old wicker rocking chair, holding me close, cooing to me and comforting me. My tummy was so upset and I wasn’t happy very much, but you didn’t care. Bless you for loving me.
Later, I loved you so, visiting you every week on Sundays, wheeling you around as your own personal escort. We’d visit all of your friends in their rooms. I remember all of them. They all had special toys in their rooms just for me.
…To my Grandma Thiessen
, My middle name came from you—Helene, even though you thought it was too fancy. But I carry it proud because it’s part of you and I’ll have it always. I remember my summers with you in Lehigh, the small Mennonite town you lived ever since I could remember. The bright yellow house where you taught me how to quilt, make dresses for all my dolls, and let me fill up all your old Reader Digest magazines with picture clippings—pictures of my dreams. We had all of our family gatherings in that house.
I remember all the jars of pickles you’d can and you’d laugh when I’d eat an entire jar all by myself. Your old German accent, the way you and Grandpa rattled off at each other and I never understood a word, but then you’d say my name, “Oh, Erika…” drawing out the e and the r so it sounded like “ear.” Your green eyes would sparkle after I’d ask you all sorts of silly questions, all the time, and I loved it. I just loved that look in your eye.
…And Eric. We grew up in a crib together, you my polar opposite with your white blond hair and pale blue eyes. So calm—all the time. The songs we’d sing while swinging on the swing set in our babysitter’s backyard; how you took the mouth full of soap for both of us because you protected me all the time. I remember the butterfly necklace you gave me for my fifth birthday, the one with the bright sparkly blue stone because it was your favorite color. I remember Chips, your favorite T.V. show and how we’d play with those figurines. You’d let me boss you around and you didn’t care, until the end when you told me about Jesus, and how I needed to see life in love always, even when I lost you.
…I miss you all. Forever. I am who I am because of you, your love, thank you.