Saturday, July 28, 2012

saying goodbye

Hello, my loves...

These past weeks have been an emotional challenge, and I have felt more fragile and delicate than ever. 

My grandmother was scheduled to arrive in Seattle on July 4th to spend a few days before embarking on her dream Alaskan cruise. However, an emergency surgery for a small bowel obstruction canceled her trip, followed by an uncontrollable infection and respiratory distress syndrome, which took her from this world last week. Jesse and I flew down to Orange County, California last weekend to be with our family. It was a sad and emotional time, but beautiful in that it brought loved ones together.

In her passing we have all been reflecting on what a magnificent lady she was and the ways in which she inspired us. My earliest and fondest memories of her are her singing for me. She had the most magical singing voice, and how I wish I had inherited that! But she did instill in me a love of music, and every time I sit down at my piano I think of her hands, gradually aging through time and becoming more arthritic and less nimble, but still able to play the most beautiful classical pieces until the very end. Her favorite tune of all was Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which certainly has become my preferred as well. When I was a child she sent me a cassette tape she recorded of herself singing that dreamy song, and how I wish I still had that. 

Carole, my grandmother, imbued the French spirit, as she would linger for hours over a meal, eating slower than any of us grandkids thought humanly possible. She also loved to savor her red wine and her coffee. Eating a meal, surrounded by her loved ones, was her most treasured time of all. We could all learn from this to slow down a little and relish the best moments and meals in life.

She also loved to travel, and although she didn't make it on her Alaskan cruise, she did traverse the country much in her midlife in the RV her husband loved to drive. I remember fondly when they would roll up to my childhood house and my brothers and I would gleefully go sit in Grandma's motorhome, and even got to sleep a night or two in there. As I mentioned before, my grandmother did love her coffee, and at her service my aunt shared the story she had heard of one of their travels when they were driving through the city in their RV when it was time for Carole's afternoon coffee. Of course there was no where to park the monstrous vehicle, so her husband circled the block again and again while Grandma was in the coffee shop.

The most amazing thing about my grandmother was her ability to spot beauty in anything. She was always observing the world around her and pointing out what she thought was beautiful; things that most would never have even noticed. Somewhere Over The Rainbow really did seem like a fitting theme song for her. And in her memory I will try to open my eyes more; to experience the world around me and seek out the lovely amidst the mundane. What a marvelous way to stay positive and happy.

It aches that she will not be there for our wedding reception in September, because I remember the delight in her voice as I told her about it, and through her tears of joy she told me how excited she was for it, and for Jesse and I to be married. I know that she will be watching us from over the rainbow, among bluebirds, where dreams really do come true...

I love you, Grandma.

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