My Grandmother: Character Profile of Age and Wisdom

Mary Jane Jeffers was 50 years old when I was born, and I laugh at myself now, to think that in my view she was always an old woman. Pity my grandchildren who will see me for the first time when I’m officially a senior citizen! I hope that they will see in me what I saw in my grandmother: namely, age and wisdom blended together.

Vintage: something old and classic reminds us of grandmother

Vintage Kitchen (not my grandmother's) Painting by Karen Arnold
Vintage Kitchen (not my grandmother's) Painting by Karen Arnold | Source

My grandmother’s figure was tall and stately; her features, pleasant and good-looking; her complexion, silky brown and smooth; her voice, soothing when she talked and when she sang; and her presence meant the world to me. I cannot imagine my early life without my grandmother—my mother’s role was closer to that of a big sister.

My grandmother’s greatest contribution to my life was her genuine faith in me. She single handedly boosted my sense of self-worth more than any other. She expressed her love in a thousand different ways. She helped me learn to read; she taught me songs to sing; she explained the facts of life; she predicted a decent future for me, way more comfortable than working in the fields like she did. She talked proudly about me, sometimes referring to me as a gift from God, after she found out that my name means ‘gift’ in the Greek language.

Her Love and Wisdom

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance . . . unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort . . . And, most importantly, cookies.

~Rudy Giuliani

My grandmother had three daughters, one of whom was more difficult than the other two; and she seemed to show preference for the troublemaker. The other family members (including me when I became an adult) thought that her kindness to my undeserving aunt was her only sin. When I asked her about her obvious preference, she responded with her own question: “If you have three children playing on the top of a hill, and one is always running toward the cliff, which one will you keep closest to you?” That was a sermon on parenting and on life in general.

Vintage Rose: symbol for wise, loving, caring grandmothers

Photo by Marina Shemesh
Photo by Marina Shemesh | Source

The said aunt died when I was abroad. I called to ask my grandmother how the death of her favorite daughter affected her. She replied, “I am at peace. If I hadn’t given her all the love I had to give, I would be miserable now.”

This incident is proof for me that my grandmother was not only a wise woman, but a wise saint. I am not the only person who saw in her a character profile of age and wisdom. I met someone who grew up in the same church I did. He was a theology major doing post graduate studies in wisdom literature. His model of applied wisdom, he told me, was my grandmother.

Her Wise Sayings

The Better Woman . . . Cleans the Mess She Makes

Photo by Lilla Frerichs
Photo by Lilla Frerichs | Source

These are statements I heard my grandmother say repeatedly, not always in perfect grammar. If I discover that they have other sources besides her wisdom, I will gladly give credit.

  • The greedy person is not the one who refuses to give, but the one who begs.
  • The better woman is not the one who never made a mess, but the one who cleans the mess she makes.
  • If you want something done quickly, do it yourself. If you want it done well, pay somebody to do it. (I’ve read several versions of this one).
  • If we could afford to eat rich foods, we wouldn’t be this healthy.

Excerpts from Her Eulogy

Those were the days: story telling in the shade of the trees

Spring Garden Vintage Colors by Karen Arnold
Spring Garden Vintage Colors by Karen Arnold | Source

My grandmother's life was celebrated on Mothers Day 1987. Her eulogy was written and presented by a member of her church who was also a family friend and a respectful admirer. Here are some excerpts:

  • “A devoted mother, a loving grandmother, a caring great grandmother, a benevolent and dedicated and faithful Christian, a friend of all . . .
  • “She lived during the days of World War I, the great depression of the 1930s and the days of World War II. . . She experienced the hardship that life offered, but because of the spirit of sacrifice and devotion which marked her whole life, she faced the difficulties and raised her children with great determination. . .
  • “She served this church faithfully. Her views on controversial matters were often sought and frankly given and this was done in love and with respect.
  • “When there was work to be done she was usually one of the first to volunteer. When others said it was too heavy, she would say "Let us lift."
  • “In her latest years she became very ill but she bore her suffering with great fortitude. . . In fact, visitors to her bedside discovered that she was the one who gave rather than receive words of comfort and consolation. . .
  • “May all of us who were touched by her life continue to admire and be inspired by the greatness, the meekness and the simplicity of her life and to follow her example.”

Her Legacy

Grandparent Poll

In which of these ways do you think that you can best influence your grandchildren?

See results without voting

Now that I am a grandmother, I pray for my grandchildren to see in me the life-empowering virtues that I saw in my grandmother:

  • Unconditional love for her children and grandchildren;
  • Self-respect and respect for others;
  • Wisdom in decision-making and in her interaction with others;
  • Contentment with life's successes in whatever measure we receive them;
  • Unswerving faith in God.

I can still hear her prayer for her grandchildren that her grandsons be as “as plants grown up in their youth” and her granddaughters as “as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” She was quoting from Psalm 144:12 (KJV). I also want my grandchildren to remember my prayers on their behalf.

© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers

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40 comments

ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

I have to say Ms. Dora, your grandma was an angel. I was deeply touched by this words of hers when your aunt died, and I quote, “I am at peace. If I hadn’t given her all the love I had to give, I would be miserable now.”

I never got to know my grandmas, but I hope I can emit the same grace to my grandchildren as she did. I know through Christ, we can do all things. Your grandma proved that.

Very good read. I'm inspired. God bless you. Voted up and beautiful :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Comfort B, thanks for such an encouraging comment. God will enable you to be a really good grandma. We can count on Him!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

She sounds like a wonderful person, Dora. Thank you for sharing her memory with us all.

blessings always

bill


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

She was a wonderful person! A pleasure sharing.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This is such a beautiful tribute to your wonderful grandmother. How wise and intelligent she truly was to see things the way she did. Having been through all that she must have seen during those turbulent years of the World Wars, she is indeed one to emulate. Thank you for sharing this remembrance of your lovely kin.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 3 years ago

Ms Dora, Marvelous refreshing hub! Your grandmother was a wise, insightful, loving, nurturing woman. She has left you a wonderful legacy of love! This is a lovely tribute!

Thank You for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Peg, thanks for your kind words about my grandmother. Fro a very early age, I wanted to be just like her.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

DeBorrah, all the words you selected are true of my grandmother. Thanks for your affirmation.


Verily Prime profile image

Verily Prime 3 years ago from New York

Yes, to the grandmas of the World - for yours who loved that daughter who gave a kittle trouble was akin to Jesus leaving His 99 Sheep for that One who was lost and went astray... to precious memories... may they all rest in Jesus' Peace!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Well said, Verily Prime. A beautiful salute to all the grandmas!


PaisleeGal profile image

PaisleeGal 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Beautiful tribute to your grandmother. I was blessed to have wonderful grandparents too. Since I am now a gramma I have come to realize how important mine were in my life. It's my goal to be the type of gramma my one and only grandson will write a tribute to someday.

Thanks for sharing your heart!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Pat, glad you enjoyed life with your grandparents and now with your grandson. He's already paying tribute so look, listen and enjoy. Blessings!


sallybea profile image

sallybea 3 years ago from Norfolk

I don't remember meeting my Grandmother though I had a few letters from her when I was very young. I believe that I look very much like her. I loved reading about your Grandmother and today you made me I feel as if I knew her personally, I think she would be very proud of her granddaughter. Thank you for sharing, voted up.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Sallybea, glad you had some letters from yours--and if you have her features, that's great. Thanks for reading about mine.


P. D. 3 years ago

I remember that wonderful old lady. She gave me life. Every word said here is true. A lovely legacy for our loved one to be such an inspiration.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

P.D., I can only guess who you are. She gave you life eh? Well then, we must have shared our lives--you and I, and we are blessed to have been empowered by her. Thanks for your affirmation!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Your grandmother was a great human being. You are blessed to have had her as a grandmother who has left such lovey memories.

Voted up, beautiful.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Rajan, I am truly blessed. We made some good memories together.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 3 years ago

Good evening Ms Dora.

Excellent Hub. By this presentation of your grandmother's life, I've been touched by her life also. There is walking wisdom in godly and righteous lifestyle and she was doing that.what an inspiration. HalleluYAH !„

Voting up, awesome and interesting .

Be continually blessed.

MichaEL.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you so much for this. My grandparents were taken from me when I was 5.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great hub. Very heartening to read. Thank you for sharing.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas

I have a special place in my heart for grandmothers as mine raised me. She was the guiding light in my early life and my rock when I became an adult. You were blessed to have had such a wonderful, caring grandmother and I know, like mine, she remains a beacon of guidance for you to this day. Excellent and tender Hub. Best/Sis


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Michael, you made my day by admitting that you are touched by my grandmother's life. You would have said the same thing if you met her in person. Thank you!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

MHatter, I hope you have some good memories no matter how faint. Blessings!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, thanks for continually reading my work. Glad this one touched you!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Angela, "Guiding light?" "Beacon of Hope?" I wish I had used those words myself. Thanks for your wonderful comment. You were obviously raised by a phenomenal grandmother.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

•The greedy person is not the one who refuses to give, but the one who begs... You make us see power and wisdom.. hope and strength even in the certain years of death.. I really felt this hub bones deep Msdora :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, I remember this one because I had cousins who would beg from each other (you know I'd never beg) and then get upset at the one who refused to give. In the first place, did they have to beg? Well, they were greedy and my grandmother had her way of making us see our faults.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

This is such a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. The world is better because of her. Thank you for sharing her memories. In doing so, you have allowed others to share in her love and wisdom, too.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Marlene. Your comment encourages me. Thanks for affirming my grandmother's love and wisdom.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

This is such a beautiful tribute to your amazing grandmother. She sounded wonderful, and her quotes show how wise she was, wonderful!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Nell, for agreeing with me about my grandmother's wisdom. How I wish for that virtue to live on in me!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

What a lovely way to honor your grandmother. She sounds as though she was a remarkable lady. I never knew my father's Mother. She had died before I was born. My Daddy was 58 when I landed on the planet.

My Mother's Mother died two months after my sister when I was four. So I have very limited memory of her. And I always felt I missed out on a special connection. the good news is that my Momma had 8 sisters and 1 brother so I had many Aunts and Uncles to love and adore and who loved and adored me back.

thank you for reminding me of the lovely times.

Angels are on the way voted up and shared ps


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Pstraubie, thank God for your aunts and uncle. No one can replace a mother or grandmother, but it sure helps to receive the cuddly hugs from some other relative. Now you share that love with your children and grandchildren. What a blessing!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Let us love them by being all we can be. I listened and I read the comments. And I love MsDora. Her;s are mine in my heart. Let us bow and this time not raise our heads. Let us say Lord help my Lady friend. All of MsDora's needs are my needs. I love her Grandmother for she is MsDora's grandma. Hold us dear to you our Lord and let us feel the power and grace this woman gave us. We do not pray for her, we pray that we get one part of her. Amen


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

What a true blessing it was to have the presence of such a wonderful woman and role model in your life. These heartfelt words will always serve to commemorate the life of an exceptional human being. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational and lovely story. (Voted Up) -Rose


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

MsDora, this is a lovely tribute to your beloved Grandmother. You have such loving, golden memories of her -- to share those memories is a wonderful way to reach out to others and make us ponder on the love and memories of our own grandmothers.

I voted "other" in the poll, for I have done all those things for my grandson and still do. He is almost 16 now and I see in him the loving ways that were passed down to me from my grandparents and parents and that I tried to pass on to him. It makes my heart and soul sing and soar to know that he is a loving soul with a good heart.

Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to give.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, thanks for your prayer. You're such a perceptive and thoughtful man. Thanks for being my friend. God bless you!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rose, nice meeting you. I appreciate your kind comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Phyllis, thanks for your kind words. Yes, I remember my grandmother well, and now like you, I have a grandson, and praying for the opportunity to share my love and wisdom with him.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
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    Grandparent, added to MsDora's profile of teacher and counselor after she became a senior citizen, gives her a new interest to explore.



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