Edith Rawlings Barlow Hyer
Jan 25, 1917 - Dec 17, 2013
Today my family is getting ready to say goodbye to my wonderful grandma. She passed away last Tuesday, peacefully in her sleep, just shy of her 97th birthday. The Rawlings women tend to have the longevity gene in spades, and I'm happy she was able to have good years at the end and not linger too long in a body that was failing her. She was able to hold on to see her last grandchild get married in October and to see my mom get home from her mission, who happened to be with her when she passed.
I have a pit in my stomach that I'm not able to be there today (only a few weeks to go before the other sweet pit in my stomach makes her appearance). I want to hear the stories and memories of her, to hold her hand one last time, to stand in that quiet, country cemetery, and especially to feel that connection to my Barlow family as we celebrate her life. What makes it worse is that I've known for decades how important it was to her that I play 'How Great Thou Art' with my siblings at her funeral. She loved our violins. J and I were able to go to the temple this week, though. My Aunt Ruth (Grandma's sister) and her husband were the first temple president and matron of our local temple. Grandma and Grandpa actually moved here and served as the first missionaries at the temple. It was helpful to be there and feel a portion of that connection that I'm missing.
Grandma remarried an awesome man, my Grandpa Ace, and eventually moved into our neighborhood and ward. As I've tried to picture her over the last week, the image that keeps coming to mind is walking in the door to find them sitting at the counter in my mom's kitchen. I can so clearly see her turning to see who it was then giving a big smile when it was one of her grandchildren. I feel like she was ALWAYS happy to see us. What a blessing to have them so close. She decided she wanted to write down her life story about the time I was graduating from high school. I was having a hard time finding a short-term job before heading off for college, so I would go over and sit for hours and hours and type as she told story after story. There was so much I didn't know about her. Justin happened to have that particular book out a few weeks ago, looking to see if she had some Christmas memories he could share at a church event. I grabbed it that night, and as I read over some of her particularly hard years, I could still remember how chocked up she became telling me those stories in her basement. I'm so happy I can hear her voice and see her face as I read that book over the years.
Grandma's chocolates were legendary and the recipes and techniques have, fortunately, been passed from generation to generation. Unfortunately, not to me, but I'm great at the dipping part! There's a home video somewhere of me dipping with her when I was little. When we finished up, I plunged my hand into the bowl of melted chocolate to take some for the road. Then I had the saddest look of dismay as she grabbed a spatula and scraped it off before I left the kitchen. Who doesn't want a little kid dripping of chocolate roaming around the house? I think the funniest part is she didn't even notice my face and kept a conversation going with an aunt or uncle over her shoulder as my hopes were dashed. My cousin, Justin, is standing there as well, just laughing at me :)
Grandma leaves quite the legacy--32 grandchildren, 93 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren (and counting!), plus the many step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren she married into and loved. I am most impressed with my aunts', uncles', and parents' devotion to her. She was a loved woman. So happy to have many memories floating in my head right now of a Grandma who never lost her patience, was always available for a drop-in visit, and loved a good joke.