In our last conversation she said the meaning of life was to create and share joy. It is one to remember and like my mother said, perhaps a little ironic but I will take it. It is certainly the best mantra I have heard. She loved her life she loved birds and she wrote me a very nice letter in January of last year when I was steal reeling with being honest with my family.

There were the Krackle chocolates, the bird beaker filled with M&Ms, the late night card games. It is hard because the grandmas I see on TV tend to be of the unending sweetness variety. Kind 100% warm and loving and GS was those things but there was always so much more tied up in that relationship that before I could even recognize it there was always a bitter undertone to the relationship. I know TV lies and no one is 100% sweet and perfect but even as a child there was an ever present tension.

As the golden child I think I had it pretty easy, she was harder on other grandkid but still.

That is why it was so hard. Taking the lesson some of your best teachers teach you how not to be. She was a wonderful woman filled with adventure and a determined spirit. There is a recording of the service and you will have to have my dad find it for you at the house.  If nothing else she gave us a spine. Unabashed in her opinions and holding herself and others to an exacting standards, she was wonderful.

Some of my favorite memories are the few days I spent alone with her in McCall in 7th and 8th grade. We made grilled SPAM sandwiches and played doubles solitaire into all hours of the morning. She did have a strong spirit and shared that with all of us.  My mom certainly took her traveling bug and independent spirit.  I am afraid at bad times, I have her critical nature for everyone but myself. I see her tone in some of the current family tension and have nothing left to do but laugh at the unresolved baggage left in that family and slightly worried when I see it building in my own.

I hated seeing the effect of her tone on my M-U and well had very well checked myself out of the situation for the past several years

You can’t go forward from where you are right now. Just a random reminder that popped up on my computer and well another metaphor I will read into.

Again, I love GS she was wonderful but there was always that twinge or baggage at that is tough. Nothing to forgive, or get over it is just there. Certainly, worth reminding that she did not have an easy life.

So was there a single gift, I don’t know. Do my best to love life I suppose and don’t be afraid to seek out an adventure or two.


Dear B,

It sounds as though you have a pretty clear-eyed assessment of who she was and who she wasn’t. And I suspect she had a pretty clear idea of who she was. It doesn’t seem that she was pretending to be someone she wasn’t and that is always refreshing, even when the bare truth is not always beautiful. I’m glad you can take all that in and still love her and have happy memories and appreciate her strengths. Keep that spine she gave you strong but flexible.

Let us always be determined and able to recognize, create, and share joy.


Auntie E