Thursday, January 12, 2017

Memories of my Grandma

Dear Friends, I have some sad news to share with you today: My grandma passed away last Friday. It wasn't a complete surprise - She had been struggling with lung cancer for the past year - But the suddenness of the final decline, in less than a week, was unexpected.

Let me tell you about her.


She was one of twelve children in a family who moved from the Dust Bowl to California during the Great Depression. She met my grandpa in California and they were married on September 11, 1949 - 67 years last fall!

She was of the generation that believed a proper dinner means meat and potatoes and a vegetable and salad and bread. And, obviously, tablecloths and placemats and napkins - She would be probably appalled at the haphazard dinner arrangements here! Although I am trying to change that... Setting the table is one of Swede's new "spons-bil-ties."

I grew up close to my grandparents in southern California and we visited with them frequently. When I was really little they lived on a farm called Olive Hill but my only memory from there is how my older cousins told me I was too little for the tree house. The house I remember best from my childhood had a great yard - It was like a jungle! We'd do Thanksgiving and Christmas together every year. I remember an extensive collection of Santa Claus figurines that I loved to examine in great detail. 

She wore this ring for a long time and now I am wearing it. It's engraved "EH to EW July 19, 1899" - These are long ago distant relatives.


Her name was Joyce Margaret - If Abel had been a girl we'd have named her Eloise Margaret.

She was a quilter. She made Christmas quilts for my brother and me when were kids with little illustrated made-up stories to go along with the design - Mine was an elf decorating a Christmas tree. She made the quilt I took to college. She made a quilt for Jonathan and me when we were married.

I remember her teaching me once how to deal cards. I started to deal her all her cards at once and she explained how you are supposed to deal back-and-forth. Card games we played together: Kings in the Corner, Casino, and always - Cribbage.

This photo is from the first time my grandparents met Swede in June 2014. I wish she had met Abel.


The last time I saw her was when I was Denver for work in October. She insisted that I take home some dish towels and tried to press a knife set on me until I reminded her that I couldn't take it on the airplane.

I keep going along doing life - working, taking care of the kids, making dinner - and then I'll be reminded that she's gone and it's so sad. She was a lot of pain at the end and while I am glad that she is at peace and in a better place, I feel sorry for those of us left behind, especially my grandpa.

As I'm reading through this post I feel like there aren't that many specific memories - It's just a general feeling of being loved. I feel really lucky to have known her and been so close for 35 years.

18 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss :(

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss but happy for your feeling of being close and loved for 35 years and that she's no longer in physical pain. I'm also happy you have her ring. Peace and love to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you. I really love that I have her ring - It makes me feel close to her every day.

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  3. So sorry for your loss! Sending you hugs :)

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  4. So sorry for your loss, Kelly. I hope that you are able to keep your wonderful memories of her lifetime close by while you grieve. Big hugs.

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    1. Thank you Heather. I am glad that I do have so many years of good memories.

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  5. Kelly, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so easy to tell how wonderful of a person she was from everything you wrote, and so special that you have her ring, quilts, and all of the memories. Keeping your family in my prayers<3

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    1. Thank you Carly. I'm glad that it came across in this post how neat she was!

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  6. Kelly, hugs to you! Your grandma seemed like a lovely person. I can relate because I lost my grandma to lung cancer too. It was an awful decline. I hope you are able to find peace and hold on to the memories.

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    1. Thank you! I'm sorry that you lost your grandma to lung cancer too - It's a bad one. (As is there is a "good" one, but it did to spread/progress very quickly for her). I'm glad she is at peace and so glad to have many years of good memories.

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  7. I'm so sorry for your loss, Kelly. I experienced a loss over/near the holidays, too. It's so difficult.

    This was a beautiful post - thank you for sharing. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to do the same on my blog. I smiled when I read "Kings in the Corner" -- I played that game with my Grandma all the time. I hadn't heard of it outside of my family.

    Thinking of you and your family.

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    1. Thank you Rebekah. I'm sorry to hear about your recent loss as well.
      I love that you played Kings in the Corner too! That was my favorite growing up. We'd play for Tick-Tacks. :-)

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  8. I'm so sorry friend! Grandparents are such a treasure. I lost both of my grandpas before I graduated from high school so I know how hard it can be. You were lucky to know and be loved by such a sweet lady. I love that you are trying to implement some of her "habits" or "beliefs" into your lives. I'm glad that she is no longer struggling and free of her pain. Lots of hugs, its been a hard beginning of year for many I feel. :( XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. Thank you Alexandra. I am glad that I was able to know her for so long.
      This year has started out rough for many people... Hope it gets better.

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  9. I'm very sorry for your loss! It sounds like she had a really wonderful life though. I'm glad you are able to wear that ring that she used to wear. What a lovely thing to keep in the family. The quilts she made sound amazing, especially the ones that had made up stories for the kids. I love it!

    -Lauren

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    1. Thank you Lauren. I love that I have her ring and the many quilts she made over the years that I can pass along to my kids too.

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