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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goodbye Grandma, I Love You

Normalea Barber Steigerwalt (3 Oct 1931 - 18 Jun 2012) Married Grandpa 19 Oct 1952.

We had a shock of a call last night around 7:20 pm.  My sister called and told me to get to grandma and grandpa's house grandma just died of a heart attach and dad needs our help.

My thoughts were grandma, I think she said grandma, not grandpa who is in far worse shape?  I was numb and trying to comprehend the call while Kyle was driving us over there.  I was fine until I turned on to the road I grew up on most of my early life (15 of my first 18 years).  No more grandma?

We drove into grandma's yard as all the cousins I haven't seen for ages start arriving along with my aunts.  So many tear stricken hugs where exchanged and murmurs of, "I never see you until things like this, we need to get together more."

Poor grandpa who has Alzheimer's was trying to take it all in.  I think he knew what happened some of the time, but the rest of the time he was trying to figure out who we were.  There were a lot of us.  It amazes me how Heavenly Father works in times like these.  Grandpa is in a wheelchair most of the time and can walk with assistance or using a walker with help.  He managed to walk to the neighbors house to tell them he thought Mom (that's what he called grandma) was gone.  The distance is 3/4 of a football field away, how'd he make it there?  Amazing.

Grandma was a person who has a loud bark, but is loving and kind underneath.  As a young child she could be scary, but as a youth I learned to see through the bark.  I'd just say, now grandma, when she'd get to going and she'd laugh and calm down.  She barked at grandpa all the time, but they loved each other.  Grandpa would just grin and wink at us and then do whatever it was that grandma needed.  She was awesome at making us feel loved.  When ever we came in she would always take time visit and give advice if that was needed.  I often walked from my childhood home just to sit and talk with grandma.  She had a lot of good advice for a teenage girl who thought her parents didn't know a thing.

Grandma never forgot a birthday as we were growing up.  We could count on a birthday card always being in the mail on our birthday.  With mine being the day after July 4th, I often got my cards on July 6th, but not grandma's they we always there on my birthday.

We learned so much about life on the farm.  Our families would gather at grandmas when I was little to process the cattle or hogs so each family had meat in the freezer for the winter.  It was an all day affair that we each had little jobs to do no matter the age.  We'd gather for homemade ice cream on Sunday afternoons.  So many good memories of my grandma.

I'll miss you grandma.  God be with you until we meet again!


  1. Grandmas are the best. :) Enjoy your time with family as you celebrate her life, and know that a part of her will live on through each person that she taught.

  2. Sorry to hear about your Grandma. I know you will have these days to process and come to know her even more through all the memories that will be shared. The Temple will be the place that I know you'll go to do her work and give her the best gift of her life. I hope your Grandpa will find some comfort and peace too.

  3. I'm sorry about your grandma. She sounds like a wonderful lady!


  4. Thinking of you always difficult to lose someone you love