My grandma

Hi everyone, I have returned from my trip to New Mexico. On Thursday evening I found out that one day before my flight to see her, my grandmother passed away. She had family surrounding her in her last days. She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 96.

As I’m sure you can guess, I was sad, frustrated and disappointed that I didn’t make it in time to say goodbye. But as my mom told me on the phone when I called to tell her, “You don’t have to be there in person to say goodbye.” And that’s true. (As an aside, my grandma once noted to me, “I must have done something right, as I have two ex daughters-in-law who still write!”)

The weekend, however, was not sad. I had a really enjoyable drive from Albuquerque to Los Alamos with two of my cousins, and we stopped for dinner in Santa Fe and toasted our grandmother over a margarita and New Mexican cuisine. We shared lots of funny stories. This was a woman who was by and large healthy as a horse pretty much until her final days. A woman who purportedly told her doctor when being admitted to the hospital to have her hip replacement surgery some years ago that she hadn’t been admitted to the hospital since she broke her arm when she was 13 and fell off her horse, and no, being in the hospital to give birth three times apparently didn’t count. She was very intelligent, graduating from high school at the age of 16 in 1931, going on to teach in a one room school house until she entered college two years later. She was the most voracious reader you ever did see. I don’t think she ever uttered a curse word her entire life (hot weather was even “hotter than Hades” to her). She was active in her church, her college sorority and her community well into her 80s. She once credited her good health to water exercise classes (take note!). I swear she didn’t have a mean bone in her body. Everyone she ever knew was the better for it.

The family gathered at my uncle and aunt’s house on Saturday for a very informal memorial. I saw cousins I rarely get to see, and everyone shared stories. I heard about her making my uncles strip naked when they got sprayed in the face by a skunk, while she buried their clothes and everything on them at the time (including my uncle’s best Roy Rogers cap gun) in the backyard and my dad, the youngest of the three brothers, laughed hysterically from safe inside. I heard about her riding her horse, Bess, to school everyday. We told funny grandma-isms and other family stories. And we all remembered her cooking fondly (well, except a couple of aspic dishes). The whole weekend I wore her wedding ring and smiled whenever I thought of her. I think we all did.

It was a long life, well lived, full of health, good friends and family. She will be missed, but we’re all thankful to have had so many years to enjoy our time with her.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos. Little baby me and my Grandma Nella Mae. It makes me smile. 🙂

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Golly, 28 Comments!

  • What a sweet and wonderful post about your Grandma. She sounds like she was a really lovely human being and they are rare in this world. Much love to you and your family. xoxo

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  • so sorry for your loss. she sounds like a remarkable woman blessed with a long, full life. xoxo

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  • oh Tasha..I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandma’s passing. She sounds like such an amazing woman and I absolutely loved your stories about her! What a beautiful woman–I hope we can embody her spirit and her loveliness in our own lives. My thoughts are with you and your family!!

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  • What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. She sounds like she was an amazing and loving person.
    I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  • Sorry to hear of your loss. Your Grandmother sounds like she lived a long happy life.

    All the best,
    MaryD

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  • I’m going to have to stop reading your blog if you are going to keep making me cry. In a good way.

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  • I am sorry about your grandmother- but what a lovely way to celebrate her life- with stories FROM her life. She sounds like a fascinating person, and I am glad her stories live on 🙂

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  • Sorry to hear about your Grandmother. I’m glad you were able to enjoy happy memories of her.

    I still miss mine but I feel privileged to have had such a wonderful woman in my life.

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  • Oh Tasha! I’m so sorry to hear that she passed, but how wonderful that you were able to spend time with family and celebrate her life. And WOW, imagine how much she saw and experienced over the course of her lifetime!
    I’m so glad you have her ring – what a perfect way to remember and carry her with you even now that she’s gone. Take care 🙂

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  • Oh Tasha, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you and your family are coping.

    I know exactly how you feel about not being able to say goodbye, it’s so frustrating but you did everything you could to get there and I’m sure it meant a lot to her. My grandmother died on my twentieth birthday, I’d planned to visit her the next day and to this day still I feel incredibly guilty that I was partying with my friends instead of spending her last moments by her side, grandmothers seem so omnipresent that you never expect them to slip away so quickly.

    She seems like she was a wonderful lady, I really feel for you. xx

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  • Loosing a Grandma is so hard! I feel for you, Tasha. My prayers are with you and your family. What a sweet photo to share with us!

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  • How blessed to have had your grandma for so long.

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  • This made me cry (here I am, weeping when I should be getting ready for work). Sounds like your Grandma was such a sweet person and you have loads of wonderfull memories to share. When my Grandma died we found couple bottles of strawberry wine she made some 20 years before. After the funeral, family gathered in our home and we toasted with the delicious wine she made herself and shared good memories of her. That is how it should be, people pass away when their time comes but memories will stay.

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  • So sorry for your loss Tasha, she sounds like a great lady who had a great life and lots of love.

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  • I’m really sorry to hear this. This post is a fitting tribute to her.

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  • Sorry for your loss, but how lucky you are to have had your Gran for so long. What more can you wish for than to live a long happy life and die peacefully surrounded by loved ones.
    She certainly knew that your thoughts were and still are with her.

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  • This was the most beautiful tribute I think I’ve ever read to a grandmother. She sounds like she was a lovely woman. My condolences to you and your family! *hugs*

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  • I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother, but thank you for sharing such a beautiful post about her. She obviously lived a long and full life, so I’m glad you could celebrate that with the rest of your family xxx

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  • Oh dear, I don’t even know you, let alone your grandma, and I’m blubbing over this post! I’m really sorry to hear that she’s gone and especially that you didn’t get there in time, but I totally understand your non-sad feelings. When my dad died last year, of course I was really sad, but I also more than anything felt an overwhelming sense of privilege that I got to be such a big part of his life. People we love are never really gone because we can always conjure up a happy memory to make us smile!

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  • So sorry about your loss Tasha. She sounds like she was a wonderful person. I’m curious too – was she a knitter? Hugs to you and your family.

    Tracy xxx

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  • I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

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  • I’m sorry for your loss, Tasha. My Gram was amazing with a sewing machine. I lost her two years ago, but everytime I sew, it feels like she’s still with me <3

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  • What a beautiful post, Tasha. I’m sorry for your loss, but happy to read she lead an increadible and healthy life.

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  • Sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a really incredible woman.

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  • A very beautiful post for a woman who sounds like she led a very beautiful life. My thoughts go out to your and your family.

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  • I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. You wrote a truly beautiful post about her, seems she was like every grandmother should be 😉

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  • I am sorry for your loss.

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  • I’m so sorry to hear you lost your grandma. She sounds very much like my grandma, whom I lost three years ago at age 97. I also missed seeing her at the end, as well as her funeral in Detroit, because I was 9 mo. pregnant and couldn’t travel. But as you say, you don’t have to be there to say goodbye…I still miss her all the time, tho.

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