A couple of weeks ago Doug and I flew down to California to see and say goodbye to our friend and my co-nana Diane Garaway. She had been diagnosed with cancer last October, shortly after a visit here to see Nate and Heather and her grandkids. She scheduled many of her visits around our conferences, so this last visit she had set up her booktable at the Grace Agenda Conference. Over those few days she wasn’t feeling very good, but she spent many hours on her feet, always with a smile, chatting with folks about the many beautiful C.S. Lewis and Tolkien first editions spread out on her booktable. She had quite a collection.
We first met Bill and Diane in 2000, while they were here for our Credenda History Conference. We had them to our home for dessert with some other visitors, little knowing what a significant part of our family they would soon become. Nate met Heather a few months later, and they were married in March of 2001.
Over the next thirteen years, Bill and Diane visited Idaho many times to see their loved ones, and they were always at our Sabbath table when they were in town. They became Nana G and Papa G to all our grandchildren, not just the Wilsons.
Diane made many friends here in Moscow, and we welcomed her into our fellowship and community. When she was in town, she spent her days at her daughter’s home, filling Heather’s freezer with quiche and enchiladas and Passover chicken. She would spend hours reading to the kids or playing chess (endlessly!) with them. She and Bill would take the kids out to breakfast or down to the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. They always tried to make it for Grandparents’ Day at Logos School in the spring.
Often by the time she would get to my house on Saturday night for Sabbath dinner, she would be so tired, but very happy. And she’d flop down in a chair, grab a pillow, and I’d hand her a glass of wine. I enjoyed her easy company, her California style, her interest in all my kids and grandkids. She followed all that was going on up here in Moscow, even while she was home in California. She was a special fan of all that Nate was writing, collecting many copies of his first editions and making sure he signed them all.
Knowing that Diane had been a caterer and having seen the skills she passed on to Heather in the hospitality department, I had always wished I could sit down at her Sabbath table and see how she managed it all with her large family and many grandkids. I never got the chance to do that. But I think I got something better.
When we visited Diane two weeks ago, she was confined to her bed, but alert and cheerful. I bent over to give her a hug, and her first words to me were, “It’s been glorious.” She went on to tell me that it was as though Aslan were leading her onward, and she was following along behind Him, waiting for His directions. She was completely at peace. During our visit over the course of the day, her chief concerns were for us. She wanted to see that we were fed a lovely lunch and dinner (a kind friend had prepared for us). She made sure to be wearing a little scarf that I had sent her a few weeks before. In other words, she was preparing for us, serving our interests, wanting us to feel comfortable and appreciated, being the hostess to the end. If that is how she served her guests on her deathbed, I can now see what her Sabbath table was all about. And glory to God for such a sweet remembrance.
Today is her memorial service and tomorrow is her graveside. We rejoice that she is home with her Savior, and we are thankful for her testimony of faithfulness and courage. And we will miss her.