With kind permission from my beautiful niece Carly I have copied and pasted her blog post and will be taking a short break from the blog world to be with family, life's most valuable asset.
Bertha Lee Potter Chambers
Bertha Lee Potter ChambersPerhaps the greatest blessing in my life is that I have been surrounded by love since I was born. Sharing this love back has brought me great joy and filled my days with goodness. My grandmother is one of these people who has humbled me with her kindness and genuine love for others, and I am sad to say that yesterday she passed away. Grandma had been sick for a while, but her illness suddenly took a turn for the worse right before passing. I'm heading back to Oregon today and will unfortunately need to cancel my plans with those of you in Utah and Idaho. I love you all and will try to set something up next time I'm in town.
I only have a moment, but thought I would share just a quick couple of thoughts about her. My grandma is Bertha Lee Potter (yes, I'm related to a Harry Potter through my grandma). She never liked her name much and was subject to many jokes. One time my aunt put an article on their front door titled "BIG BERTHA ARRIVES" for when grandma came home from a trip (it was really for a giant ship arriving in Portland). The name jokes never improved much after she married a Chambers...the combination of Chamberpot was priceless. Her nickname in Spain was Pajarita because Bertie sounded a lot like Birdy.
Grandma, Grandpa, and their 4 kids in SpainBirdy couldn't have summed her up better. She had a beautiful singsong voice that I loved to listen to. On our long family vacations she taught me to sing classics like "Going to the Chapel" and "You Are My Sunshine." She was my arts and crafts guru, who would sit patiently with me for hours as I tried to knit. I remember one time showing her the scarf I was working on and she saw a mistake about 30 rows back and quickly unwound all my hard work to that spot. I sat there thinking, "that was 3 hours of work! I can live with the blip!" But in 30 seconds flat she had it back to where I left off. Blip free.
Grandma and Grandpa on their honeymoonMost of all, my grandmother taught me the importance of family. She married my grandpa when she was 21 and passed away a day after their 61 anniversary. She had two twin boys, Ron and Don, and then my dad, followed by Aunt Terri. We were her world, and she made sure we knew it. Every big day in our lives she found a way to be there. When I was younger, we were talking on the phone and she told me they wouldn't be back in Portland yet for my birthday because of their trip. I told her I was sad she wouldn't make it. That was all it took, and she was there that March 16 singing Happy Birthday. And it wasn't just those typical big events she made it to. My grandma and grandpa were at every soccer, lacrosse, racquetball tournament, and dragon boat race I stepped foot in. You could not find a set of more diehard fans than my loyal grandparents. Rain or shine, and even hail or snow, they were there cheering me on. And at the end of every game, I was always the rockstar, or so she said.
Grandma and Grandpa at my graduation from BYU April 2012
I am grateful for the influence that she had in my life. I miss the hugs and kisses that were always aplenty, the hands that dried my tears and would bang on those pots and pans in my one-year-old band, and the constant support she offered me in every decision I made. I love you, Grandma.