what greater gift dost thou bestow,
what greater goodness can we know
than christlike friends, whose gentle ways
strengthen our faith, enrich our days […]
for worthy friends whose lives proclaim
devotion to the savior’s name,
who bless our days with peace and love,
we praise thy goodness, lord, above.”
(each life that touches ours for good; hymns, 293)
Joanne Todd McKenna will go down in history as one of the greatest women who ever set foot upon this earth. Not only was she an incredible wife, sister and mother, but she was the grandmother of almost 45 grandchildren and the great-grandmother of many more. She was a woman full of gratitude and charity and faith; someone who always looked up, regardless of the circumstances. She was the epitome of happiness. Her motto was “Just Be Happy!” and she displayed this motto through every action of her life.
In her early 40’s, Grandma Jo’s husband, Earl, suddenly passed away without any indication of why. Still having more than half of her 8 children at home, she continued to raise and care for them with a smile on her face. Almost thirty-eight years have passed since that moment, but still Grandma Jo has remained the happiest person that I have ever met.
She loved playing the piano. There were some days when I would pass by her house to visit. As I would approach the door, I heard her beautiful music echoing through the house.
It goes without saying that Grandma Jo lived a life that has made an impact on more people than we can count. She was a light in a dark world; she was the hope that society so desperately needed.
This week, surrounded by her children, Grandma Jo slipped past the veil into eternity. We have heavy hearts, but they are also filled with joy knowing that GRANDMA JO LIVES ON. Not only in memory and spirit, but because of the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father, we know that she is not lost. We know exactly where she is. And wherever that may be, she is happy and peaceful. She had finished her work on this earth, and now she and Earl together are eagerly awaiting until our family can be reunited once more.
I know that Jesus Christ lives. And I know that Grandma Jo will live again.
IN MEMORIAM – FOR GRANDMA JO
A sweet scent of lavender
slowly fills the air
as I step into her happy home,
full of love and care.
She greets me from the piano bench
“I’ve been waiting for you, dear,”
She laughs, and plays a chord or two
quite gentle to the ears.
On the couch is where we sit
exchanging love and laughs,
her telling me the stories
of her life-long journeys’ paths.
All the tales, both young and old,
seem to always turn to him,
the man she loved so dearly
with her heart filled to the brim.
“He left too early,” she says again
with a less than hearty smile.
“He left too early and I’m still here.
Oh, it’s been a while.”
She tells me how he left this world
in a quick and peaceful way.
She wonders to the Father
why He couldn’t have let him stay.
But 38 years have passed
a smile still on her face;
she’s been to hell and back again,
and still pushing through the race.
But now this cute old woman
has peacefully passed on,
into another world
where her sufferings are gone.
She’s reunited with her Earl
never to be torn apart.
Their never-ending, eternal love
is enough to melt your heart.
You’ve never met, in all your life
a woman quite like she,
making everyone happy
while never uttering “me”.
Superheroes come and go
but never quite as real
as those we love, and those we meet,
and the feelings that we feel.
Our hearts are full, our tears are thick
as we think of all she gave
to help this planet that we call earth
become a better place.
My dearest darling Grandma Jo,
we think of you today.
We smile because YOU’RE happy
tho’ the tears roll down our face.
Our joy is great, our faith is strong
with the knowledge that we own,
that, thanks to our brother, Jesus Christ,
Death won’t take its throne.
Grandma Jo, we miss you,
without you our hearts are sore.
But there is indeed, incredibly joy
to know we’ll see you once more.