Temporary Grief

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.


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13 thoughts on “Temporary Grief

  1. There are many things I hope I get to choose. Ending well, full of grace and love, is on that list. What a lovely gift to her family – a gift from God to them through her.

  2. Thank you for the update, Nancy. And thank you especially for a window into the beautiful person she was, for those of us who never knew her. She has often been in my thoughts lately, and we have been praying for her and her family for several weeks. We will continue to pray for all of them in the weeks ahead.

  3. Amen! It was a glorious service and such a blessing to see the giant community that her faithfulness created.

  4. It was indeed such a beautiful, beautiful service, Nancy, and we are so grateful for your memorial of her in these words. We wish you could have been there.

  5. What a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in & through your fellow Nana. We’ll continue to pray for your family as you and they all adapt to life here on earth without Mrs. Garaway. I knew her a little throughout my life, and remember her glorious smile and kind voice even just last October at her book table. I remember watching her herd some of those grandkids under her wings like a glorious mama hen. I love thinking of her grandson calling out, “here she comes!” after your recent post, as he welcomed his Nana to The Choir.

    Jen, I’m so glad you were among those who made it to her service; I rejoiced fully at that thought. I hope snippets of it show up online somewhere.

  6. I had met Diane briefly at her book table at a few of your various conferences, but did not know her well. All the lovely comments people have been posting about her are such a lovely tribute to a life well lived!

  7. Thank you for these words Nancy. What a joy it was to have you and Doug in Santa Cruz.
    How blessed my mom was to see you in her very last days.

  8. I have a question for Mrs. Wilson (Nancy) and I’m not sure how to get a hold of her any other way, so here goes: I’d really love to start reading some of the Puritan pastors you’ve mentioned before, but our library doesn’t have a single book by any of the authors I’ve heard of. So I’m planning on buying some books as I have funds, but I was hoping to avoid any duds and I was wondering if there were any specific titles you could recommend as a starting point. 🙂

  9. Noble,
    I would be happy to do a list for you. I’ll make that my next blog post.

  10. So very sorry to Heather at the loss of her precious mother. What an amazing legacy she’s been left with.

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