A Letter to my Grandmother

Dear Grandma Jean,

I’ve heard from numerous sources that you are this blog’s biggest fan.  That’s really nice to know.  I’ve been missing you since we moved away, wishing I could spend more time with you.  Especially in recent months and weeks, as you became weaker and quieter and more still.  Anyway, I figure if this blog was my best way to reach you, who’s to say it isn’t still!

It was a week ago today that you passed away.  I hear that you died peacefully, and I know that you were cared for by people who loved you right up until the end.  I am thankful for that.  I’m sad that you’re gone.  I miss you more now.  I missed you when we lived far away, you know, but now I miss you more than that.

Yesterday we gathered at my dad’s house (my dad, your beloved son and only child) to remember you.  It was really nice.  Wish you could have been there.  I mean, I feel like you were there, as much as a dead person could be, but I wish I could have hugged you and sat next to you and heard your voice.  I thought I’d post some pictures here for you (maybe, just maybe) and anyone else to see of the day.

All these people came.

And of course Jim W (my dad) and Susan.  Gerome and Sue came too for a little while.  See the little girls sitting out back in their tutus there?  Doesn’t that remind you of another two little girls we knew, who’d wear those same dresses just like that?  That reminds me, some people weren’t able to make it yesterday.  Shaelyn and Davia had to stay up in Oregon with Kane.  And there are many others who would have liked to be there.  You’ve been a wonderful part of so many people’s lives.  I wonder if you know that.

Hey, look!  Did you know Lauren and Justin and Rosalind got a dog?  They did.  She’s really sweet.  Her name is Mari.  Here she is:

Isn’t she pretty?  I bet you would have liked her eyes.  Or maybe you would have thought they were weird.  Maybe both.

Dottie Wood, my mom’s mom, sent you these beautiful flowers.  Everyone admired them.  They’re gorgeous.

Our Eila was there.  Your namesake, sweetest baby in the world.  Here she is with Renny.  And then with Justin…

Justin and Eila played together.

She’s attacking!


Gentle, Eila!

That baby.  I know how much you loved her, even in the short time you got to spend with her.  And I love that we chose your name for her middle name.  Not just because it will always remind me of you, but also because I imagine your name like a little jar, filled with all the things we love about you – your strength, your kindness, your loyalty, your boldness, your love and caring and commitment to family, your open mind and heart, your sense of humor, and so many more things that make you special – wrapped in ribbon and handed to Eila to carry on through out her life.  A little bit of your legacy, just for her.  That’s how it is in my mind anyway.

Did I mention Renny got a dog?  I did.  Mari’s wonderful.  Not exactly a genius though, and she ran full speed, face first into the sliding glass door a couple times before I put this sign up for her.

People tried to warn me that Mari can’t read.  I don’t know though… she didn’t run into the door again.

Here is Susan slicing some pie for everyone.

Renny and Eila having some play time.

Then we all gathered around, and your Jimmy told us all about your life, pausing to let us interject any memories or thoughts we wanted to share.





It was really special hearing so much about your life.  Some of it surprised me.  Some of it was funny.  I cried.  I felt closer to you and to understanding you, felt closer to where I came from.  A lot of what came out in this talk reinforced my favorite things about you.

We went through some of your stuff with Dad, and my sisters and I tried on your lipstick.


I wouldn’t have liked people going through my stuff, so I considered not telling you that we did that here.  But hey, if you’re somehow reading my blog, you could probably already know that we looked through your things.  And don’t worry – we were very respectful and didn’t find anything weird or anything.


We did find this tiny, possibly angry, baby.

And I don’t know what’s going on with this one…

I’m sure you had your reasons for keeping such a… special bunny figurine.


Overall the day was a very sweet and wonderful one of remembering you and loving you.  I’m so glad I was able to be there for it.

Grandma, I miss you and always will.  I love you forever.  Thanks for everything you gave me.

See you around.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. makingspace1
    May 28, 2012 @ 05:36:39

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful memorial tribute your family gave her, and what a beautiful post. Love and light…


  2. Jan
    May 28, 2012 @ 15:15:12

    Kate there really are no words to say how moving and wonderful this blog is. You are one very special young lady and your family is so blessed to have you. Hugs and love to Grandma Jean she helped to form the very special family that remembered her with such love on Saturday.

    Xxx Jan


  3. Renny
    May 29, 2012 @ 05:42:22

    Thank you for this post. It’s beautiful and funny and sweet. Just like Grandma Jean and our family.


  4. Jim
    Jun 03, 2012 @ 04:38:28

    Dear Kate, many many thanks for putting this together. Our gathering meant a lot to me. It’s great having such a well expressed and loving account of it.


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