My grandmother, Hester Mae Linkletter (nee Inman) passed away last week, peacefully in her bed.
Born in 1907 on a farm near Summerside, PEI, Grammie lived her whole life on the island. She lived through a lot of history in 104 years, and a lot of change. In her late 90’s (not the late 90’s, her late 90’s) she broke a vertebra in her back and fully recovered. She battled pneumonia at least twice after the age of 100, and survived. She broke her hip at age 101, and has the distinction of being the surgeon’s oldest patient. Grammie not only recovered, but walked again after her surgery. She was a strong woman.
In his eulogy, my dad reminded us of how Grammie always seemed to have a positive outlook. She never had a negative word about anyone. (Or at least, if she did, she kept it to herself.) And her favourite word was “lovely”. My dad asked her a few years ago about how it was living on the farm with my Grampie in those early years. Grammie never skipped a beat as she told him that “she loved every minute of it”. My grandparents were married for over 60 years when my Grampie died. They were in love until the very last day.
Some things I remember from my childhood was that we always hit Grammie’s house first thing after the ferry ride over. She would always have a wonderful lunch prepared, with steaming hot mashed potatoes, canned chicken, pickles she and Grampie made from their backyard garden, and always, an insanely sweet, but amazing dessert. Yum. I always felt very loved by my grandmother. Lots of hugs, lots of affirmations, lots of treats and sweets, during those all-too-brief summer weeks that we would spend on PEI.
I remember driving with her back from Charlottetown and she would know the stories of all the families in the different houses, or farms and regale us with snippets of local history as we drove along.
I remember her delightful laugh, the “ho oh oh!” with a slap of a hand on her knee, as she enjoyed a story of a recent escapade. During visits to her home, she would continually stand at her front window, watching the traffic pass by. If a car or truck pulled into my uncle’s business’ driveway, she knew who it was. My grammie constantly wanted to be ‘in the know’.
As she aged, we continued to be amazed that she was able to be so mentally sharp, and so with it. She had a great sense of humour, and she loved visiting with anyone and everyone.
When she turned 100, we had a big birthday celebration for her and an Open House. My Grammie sat in a chair and personally greeted every person who came to help her celebrate. There were over 400 people who came to give their greetings.
My Grammie planned her own funeral service, citing the Scriptures and the hymns to be sung, who was to give the eulogy, the pallbearers and honorary pallbearers. It was pretty cool to know that she had personally decided what would be read, and sung at her funeral. I felt that the Scripture she used was to reassure us all of where she was after her death: at peace, and with God.
I am a fortunate person to have had a grandmother this long in my life. And I take from her inspiration and encouragement to be strong of heart, courageous in adversity, positive in outlook, loving towards people and steadfast in faith.
I love you Grammie…… I will miss you.