Wednesday, October 15, 2008


{This is a letter I wrote to my Grandmother, Esther Faye Gilstrap (94). I read it to her Monday. She passed away last night.}

Thank you for choosing to quit your job and stay home with me, so I wouldn’t have to go to daycare.

Thank you for coloring with me on the couch everyday. I was amazed by how you stayed in the lines.

Thank you for not getting (very) angry with me when at four, I pretended to be passed out on the kitchen floor.

Thank you for sewing up the bottom of the label in my new coat, so I’d think there was a “secret pocket” in it.

Thank you for making me peanut butter and honey sandwiches everyday for lunch. I still can’t replicate your mixture.

Thank you for making me ‘koala bear’ shaped pancakes. I still can’t replicate those shapes for my kids.

Thank you for even having your own style of “bye-bye” wave whenever I left your house. Only, it hurt to see it when we moved out of your house.

Thank you for taking me to TG&Y whenever I came back for visits. Every model I made was for you, and my mediocre craftsmanship was always met with great accolades. And with every Lincoln Log home I built for you, you made me feel like a master architect.

Thank you for sending me money right when I seemed to need it most, and then telling me to spend it on something frivolous.

Thank you for nurturing a wonderful marriage with Granddaddy. You taught me how a selfless relationship is done. And by the way, thank you for being a model for the type of woman I would look for as a wife.

Thank you for opening yourself up to Chana when I first brought her to meet you. I witnessed kindred spirits bonding that night.

Thank you for contributing to our move to California. It would not have happened without you.

Thank you for teaching me about basic human kindness. You have left an indelible mark on my life and I am, in many ways, the man I am because of you.

Thank you for living to an age old enough for me to have the opportunity to get smart enough to really BE thankful; to know what I have been given.

Thank you, that when I am granted passage to heaven, we can again sit together on a couch somewhere and color. And this time, I will try harder to stay in the lines.

Thank you Grandmommy. I love you forever.


Richard Gaspard said...


It is literally through tears that I write this. Although I am deeply sorry for your loss, it is apparent that you and your grandmother had a special relationship.

What a beautiful and wonderful tribute you have penned.

Jacolyn said...

Mark, I am so sorry for you loss but so happy that you had such a wonderful grandmother. You were so blessed.

Dale Baker said...


I'm sorry for your loss...but am glad you were able to share your thoughts with your grandmother before she passed on...Beautiful stuff there...


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful woman.

Karenkool said...

That was an amazing letter. Thanks for sharing and I pray for your comfort. She sounds like she was an amazing woman.

Adam Palmer said...


It's amazing, the gifts we give without even realizing it. What a treasure you--and she--had.

Mark Keefer said...

Thanks all. I appreciate you kindness.

Cindy Swanson said...

That was a beautiful tribute, Mark...just as your grandmother was beautiful! As the grandmother to a toddler boy, I can only think how honored and proud I would be for him to someday feel this way about me. Thanks for sharing.

TigKat said...

...snif..... this is quite beautiful. i know she loved hearing you read it to her.