I just finished reading Aunt Tanna's book about Grandma Lifferth. It's difficult to put my thoughts & feelings into words, but I was so moved by this experience that I feel compelled to try.
I really didn't know Grandma very well. The few times I saw her, when I was younger, were at family events, so I was one of many. Very very many! I do remember one time when I was a kid and we went to Montana, and we must have arrived a day before anyone else showed up. I think we had travelled with Richard's family, but other than that we were the only grandkids there. Somehow I ended up with grandma out on the large second-floor balcony, and we chatted for a bit. I asked her why birds flew south for the winter, and she proceeded to explain the process in amazing detail. After she finished I just grinned and said, "No, grandma, they fly because it's too far to walk!" Grandma actually laughed! She chuckled and told me I was just silly, and then chuckled some more. She couldn't get over how silly & unexpected my reply was. I, on the other hand, was very proud of myself for having successfully delivered a joke. It was, and continues to be, a rare experience!!!
As I began reading Tanna's book, I figured that I knew most of the story...even though I really didn't know Grandma on a personal level. Well, I now know otherwise! I had heard many stories from my mama, and I knew somewhat of the hardships and difficulties they faced year after year. But I had no clue about the true extent of their suffering. I am not typically an emotional person, but this book was heartwrenching. I found myself sobbing on more than one occasion. I have such tremendous love and respect for my grandparents, and to better understand their ceaseless pain & heartache only deepens my admiration for them. Tanna did such an amazing job, telling their story in a way that made it so personal. I almost felt I was watching them live their life, rather than reading about it.
I am so full of gratitude for Tanna, as I know this must have been the most difficult undertaking imaginable. What a daunting endeavor, and yet she rose to the task and completed it perfectly. I don't think Grandma's story could have been detailed with more accuracy, compassion, and respect. I am so incredibly thankful for the gift Tanna has given us all, especially those of us who did not know Grandma as well as we would have liked. Her life was certainly a legacy that will be remembered and cherished by her posterity, and Tanna has made this possible. Tanna, you are my hero! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.