Between the Bylines

There's nothing like a grandma's love


This past weekend, we packed up the car and drove nearly four hours to our hometown of Mason City in almost-Minnesota Iowa.

By “we” I mean my fiancee, Morgan, our golden retriever, Duke, and myself.

The reason for the trip was the recent passing of Morgan's grandmother, Marlys, who passed away three Fridays ago at the age of 87. The funeral was held this past Saturday, but Thursday and Friday were spent with family, going through photos and getting all of the other jobs associated with visitations and funerals taken care of.

Morgan and I have been together since 2015, when we were sophomores in high school. Because of that, Marlys had become a grandma to me, as well. It's a special thing when someone else's family becomes your own.

Marlys, and the rest of us, found out months ago that she had limited time left with us. She was able to make it through Thanksgiving, Christmas and some more birthdays before finally reaching the day she had prepared herself for.

“I've got people waiting on me,” she would say, referring to loved ones who had preceded her in death.

She did as much as she could to make sure that preparations were taken care of before her passing, and she approached death with a sense of peace that is often only achieved by those who lived a full life and are grateful enough to realize it.

She left letters to loved ones, wrote her own obituary, and most importantly, made sure she spent time with those she cared about as she was able.

For me, personally, Marlys was the perfect representation of what a grandma's love looks like. Or rather, what it feels like – a steady presence that is always there, ready to pick you back up and remind you of how special you are. Marlys' presence is one that will surely be missed by all of us.

My grandmother on my mother's side passed away in late 2021, and my grandmother on my dad's side is my only remaining grandparent. As much as the three minute voicemails and horribly timed phone calls can get on my nerves sometimes, I know that same love is what my own grandma is providing me with each time she checks in.

It's hard when someone is in a better place and we're not yet, but there are those reminders that help us get through. It's funny how certain things can become so attached to an individual that played an important part in our lives. For instance, Marlys saved every article I wrote when I was an intern at the newspaper in my hometown before getting a full-time job here.

Even though they have my byline on them, every time I look back and read something from one of those papers I'll think of Marlys.

“God bless all my family and all the wonderful friends I've made in my lifetime,” she wrote in her obituary. “The Lord has truly blessed my life with all of my family and friends. In Jesus' name, until we meet again.”