Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My Grandmother, Mary Cecil Barrus Johnson, passed away Sunday September 5, 2010. People keep asking me, "was it expected?" and the crazy thing is that I keep answering "kind of" and then I catch myself. My grandma was very healthy, had no severe health problems, no severe pain, nothing that would make you think "she's ready to go any time". She was walking on her own, totally had all of her faculties and there was no indication that she would be leaving us so soon. But, SHE knew. When Ben and I decided to move to the Philippines, Grandma Johnson was NOT pleased. She really didn't want us to go. During that time I was on the phone with her and she said to me "Well, I won't be here when you get back". The way she said it, and then the way she kept saying it over the next few months made me really believe it. So in spite of her health, for me it was sort of expected. When we stopped by her place on the way to the airport, I still don't think I would know that this would be the last time I would see this amazing woman in this life. But I hope that either way I did what I would have done. I talked to her, hugged her, let her know I loved her. She was her normal spunky self asking me if I was SURE this was a good idea? I did get to talk to her on the phone from here, let her know that all was well over here and hear tell her I love her one more time. I remember the seriousness in her voice when she said "I love you Carmen". She had started saying it in a way that you just knew, and if she never talked to you again, she would know she had told you she loved you.

She spent her last days spending time with her family. She went out to eat with one of her sons on Friday night. She spent time with my mom, sister and her daughter, Avery, as well as listening to my sister in law Melissa play the piano on Saturday. She had visitors and people who loved her surrounding her all the way until the end.

If I could use one word to describe my Grandma it would be "spunky". She had attitude, and follow through, and she didn't take any crap. She was loving and as my mom says "fiercely protective of and loyal to her family". When people tell me I am like my Grandma, I take it as a huge compliment. I know I get a lot of who I am from her. There is a streak in the Johnson girls, you can see it with a lot of us, going down to even her great grand daughters and we know we got it from her. We are stubborn and proud to be who we are. Thank you for that Grandma!

I got to spend a lot of time with her over the past three years while we were living in Utah. We always went to my mom and dad's place for Sunday dinners and she was there. She was always so willing to listen to and participate in the family conversations. She always had her keys on a little wrist band that she would wear around and Addy loved to play with. She always let the girls wear her jewelry and was always just happy and content to be there. I am so glad I got to spend that time with her. Ben also had a chance to really get to know and love her and she LOVED him!

She was always so interested in everything we did. When I was single she was the first one to tell me not to worry about it. She had married a little later and my Grandpa was younger than her as well. She loved the house we bought. She was so excited for us when we decided to adopt. She asked lots of questions and kept involved in our lives. If she didn't agree with or understand a decision you were making, she would tell you. She loved my Grandpa and I am sure the past 11 years without him have been difficult. But we are so grateful we had that time to spend with her.

There are so many more memories and things I could share about her, but I am just so grateful to her and to my Grandpa and for the heritage that I have. I know I am a Crisanto now, but I will always be a Johnson, Granddaughter to Mary Cecil and Wally Johnson. Happiness is being a Johnson!

My Grandpa passed away 11 years ago, while I was on my mission. She missed him every day. I can only imagine how happy they are to be together again. She is with family and loved ones that she has been separated from for so long, her brother who she lost in WWII, her parents, her siblings, so many friends that had gone before her. So, although I will miss my Grandma more than I can even express, it would be selfish for me to want to keep her to myself. For now I just will be patient knowing that I will see her again.


Steve and Alli said...

Thinking of you guys & sending lots and lots of love your way. We'll miss our visits with Grandma Johnson too :)

The Staheli's said...

Great post Carmen. I'm glad you put so many details and I am FOR SURE stealing the paragraph about the Johnsons girls. It's so true and it's something I'm so grateful for. Love you.

Valerie Mom said...

Carmen. You have such a great perspective. You and Grandma are very much alike. Thank you for not taking any crap, either. We know if we need anyone to really fight our battles, you'll definitely get a call. We love you and Ben and are so grateful you got to spend so much time with Grandma and I'm especially grateful we took her to Tooele to see Maxine with you guys.

The White's said...

We are so sorry and are thinking of you and your family.