Lessons I Learned From My Granddaughter, Helena

This is what our pastor growing up wrote for his granddaughter Helena’s funeral.  She was a 19 month old heart baby who died at Children’s recovering from heart surgery.

Lessons I Learned From My Granddaughter, HelenaIt has been my privilege as a youth to have attended good public school systems, where I learned the basic 3-R’s. Beyond that I attended a fine college of the church where I learned lessons in religion, sociology, psychology, history and science. From there I was led to seminary where I studied the prophets, the Pastoral Epistles and the mystery of the book of Revelation under the guidance of many fine teachers. But I can honestly say that nothing is more precious than the lessons taught to me by my beautiful granddaughter, Helena.Here are some of those most memorable lessons that she taught:

  1. Make friends with a patient cat. They make wonderful pillows.
  2. Don’t be so self conscious and uptight about life. Sometimes you just have to run through the living room naked or na-nak as Helena would say.
  3. Always remain true to your friends, especially those named Ba Ba, Elmo,Dora, Boots, Back Pack and Cookie.
  4. Take your mem-mem (medicine) with a smile and it also helps to sing, “The Wheels on the Bus.”
  5. Enjoy the fries at McDonalds. A few won’t hurt you.
  6. Cut up broccoli really isn’t all that bad.
  7. Get out and swing a little and don’t be afraid to shout, “Wee!” when you’re having fun.
  8. Going out for a ride in the stroller or in the car can do wonders for your disposition.
  9. A million dollar smile far outweighs any amount of money in the bank.
  10. Family is everything, especially when they are all sitting on the same futon watching Elmo.
  11. A heart defect has nothing to do with the amount of love that heart can share.
  12. You can get anything you want from Pa Pa just by flashing that million dollar smile.
  13. Grandma will be more than willing to bend the rules and let you splash water all around the kitchen sink.
  14. When you go to bed at night, remember all those you love and who love you. Night night Momma, night night Dada, night night Grandmas and Pa Pas, night night Elmo and Ba Ba and Dora and Boots and on and on and on.
  15. Perseverance pays off whether it’s learning to walk, saying new words or learning to count.
  16. When I say, “All Done,” get me out of my chair quick. I’ve got other things to do and new places to explore.
  17. Bravery knows no age limit. This little girl was brave beyond measure.
  18. Your Mom and Dad loved you beyond imagination and you returned that love with your whole heart.
  19. Trust in family. They are there with you in the tough times.
  20. Be generous with your waves and don’t be afraid to say hi to everyone you meet.
  21. Make friends with books and read your favorite ones over and over.
  22. Stop and smell the fla fla’s. (flowers)
  23. A toy may cost $89.50 but a simple basket of fresh laundry can be more fun as you toss it all over the living room and run around with underwear on your head.
  24. Your Mom and Dad made every sacrifice for you and they will love you and hold you dearly forever.
  25. In the smile of a child you catch a glimpse of the face of God.
  26. Whenever you pray, always end with a hearty “Amen” just like Helena.

Thank you Helena. We never had a better teacher. You have opened our hearts to the gifts that come from being a part of God’s family. You have filled our hearts to overflowing with your smiles, your giggles, your hugs and your bravery. You have given us unconditional love as only our Heavenly Father can give. And with all that you endured your spirit remained strong and happy.

Our days of lessons learned were much too short but we have been so blessed by all that you have taught us and all the love that we have shared and we will never forget. God bless you Helena.


Pa Pa and Grandma