Tribute to the life of Vera
Normally, I don't write things about personal events in my life, other than the birth of my daughter, but last night I lost my Grandmother and wanted to give a tribute to a wonderful woman, Wife, Mother, Friend and Grandmother.
While you don't know my Grandma, Vera (my Mom's mom), was in her mid-90's when she passed away last night. Her passing was peaceful and she was surrounded by my Grandfather, who is also in his mid-90's, my mother, father and aunt. Over the last 4 years, my Grandma had been dealing with dementia, which gave her clear days and some that were not so clear, but there was no doubt, ever, that Grandma was loved and was still able to give love, as difficult as it was to see or understand, because of the dementia.
Over the last 4 years, my Grandfather saw my Grandma in the nursing home just about every day with the help of my aunt and my parents would make frequent trips to Cleveland, OH, where she lived, as they live in Dallas.
Even when they were not able to be in Cleveland, they would check in with the family to see how everybody was doing and they were even able to drop everything to fly up to Cleveland, at a moment's notice, even if that trip meant to give my aunt a break. The kinds of things families do for each other.
While reflecting on the life of my Grandmother, I thought about all things she has experienced in this life, beyond the Life-Events that define our who we become, like marriage, parenthood, grand-parenthood, buying a house, etc. Here is just a sample:
Life after World War 1
The Great Depression
Watched her husband leave and return from World War 2
Saw the news of the first Nuclear bombs being dropped on Japan
Read the news "Dewey Defeats Truman"
Saw cars go from this to the cars of today:
Saw a monkey get shot into space
Watched the first man on the moon
She also saw tragedy:
Was at Cape Canaveral to witness the Space Shuttle exploded on lift-off
The death of FDR and the Presidential funeral
The assassination of JFK
The Tragedy of 9/11
Beyond all the excitement and tragedy of the world that my Grandmother saw in her 90+ years she experienced something we all take for granted: LIFE. The life she experienced should remind us all that times were, indeed, simpler, but they were simple because it didn't have to be complex. All too often we make our lives complex.
She carried the life lessons she learned throughout her life. From the Great Depression, she saved pant-legs off pants when she made them into shorts, because you never know if you need to have patches for clothes. She used to sew clothes, save coupons, turned off lights when they weren't being used, had a pantry in the basement stocked with food for times of emergency and when she and my Grandfather retired, they enjoyed their retirement in their RV, driving all across the USA.
One of the things I have always looked to my family for which to set the standard, was marriage. While I have been divorced (and since remarried), my parents and grandparents have not. They all have/had strong marriages, where they were a united front through their lives together. To previous generations, marriage meant something more than just a "hook-up" or something fun to do until you were tired of them. Grandma and Grandpa have been married for for 70+ years and they loved each other their entire lives, just as their marriage vows said "until death do us part." But that love will never end. It will live on forever in the memories of everyone who knew them and the stories that will be passed on for generations to come.
Goodbye for now, Grandma. I will see you on the other side, when it is my time.