Celebrating a Tremendous Legacy

Whew. Over six months since I’ve written anything here. I feel good about that. My life has been busy, but happy. I’m finally feeling like I’m in a place where I can breathe fairly easily. Mostly. Mostly because I’m worried for my mother. And for hers. My Nan’s health has been declining for some time Read More

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The Grandmother Diaries: Memories and Deaths

Two days ago, I found out that one of my favorite Great Aunt Jill had died. Her husband, my Nan’s brother, died while I was bursting pregnant with my eldest. I realized as I received the news of Jill, I have no actual memories of my uncle, even though he survived to my thirtieth year. Read More

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Two days ago, I found out that one of my favorite Great Aunt Jill had died.

Her husband, my Nan’s brother, died while I was bursting pregnant with my eldest.

I realized as I received the news of Jill, I have no actual memories of my uncle, even though he survived to my thirtieth year. As I was reading my other Gran’s diaries today, I realized I have no memories of any of my mother’s aunts or uncles aside from Jill. Nan is the last. Her sister, who my mother is named for, became a nun. And helped people. Before she killed herself in her fifties.

Her half-brother is mentioned in Gran’s diary on April 10, 1987. The entry suggests my Nan’s half-brother had died and we went to the funeral. I have no memory of the funeral – even though I would have been 12 at the time.

And Jill’s husband – the only memory I have of him is going to his funeral about two weeks before my son was born. The only memory.

But I remember his wife. I remember her very well.

He and my aunt had five children altogether. They lived in a small house not far from the local children’s hospital. Their last child, Sandy, has Down Syndrome. I’m sure it was hard on their marriage – five kids alone is a pressure, but a special needs child only adds to the mix. They did their best though. The four eldest all got married and all had children who are close in age to me.

As I said though, I have no actual memories of my uncle. I’m not sure why – but he was either very antisocial or not physically well. Seems to me it was the latter.

But Aunt Jill…she was a very vibrant woman. When her son was born, it was common to ship children with Downs away – she wouldn’t allow it. She spent the better part of fifty years working with him. His mental age is around the level of an eight-year-old. But she can take full credit for it. He wouldn’t be the man he is today without her. He’s very polite – and since she’s been in the home, he’s also been in a home. He has a job. And once a year, he makes a trip to the Elvis festival. He even has his own costume.

The thing I remember most about her though was that she listened. She was always very social – she knew how to work a room. She always made a point of speaking to everyone. If only for a few minutes. And people would go out of their way to speak to her as well.

I always made a point of seeking her out. She always had something interesting to say. We had a large family – but I likely only saw her once every two or three years. She had a memory – and despite having over twenty great nieces and nephews she knew all of our names and what we’d been up to. And she always had the biggest smile.

I hadn’t seen her for a while – but I sent regular letters and pictures. I don’t know if she enjoyed them – she couldn’t write back. But I hope so.

I’m not even through the first book yet…there will be more. But if you’ve missed the grandmother diaries – you can catch up.

Image Credit (Edited): Nuttapong / freedigitalphotos.net

This post originally appeared on Live by Surprise on August 24, 2015. It has been edited.

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Gone Too Soon

My mother grew up with an older sister and three younger brothers. I don’t think it was the easiest of childhoods. My grandfather abused and cheated on my grandmother and eventually left her for the other woman when my mother was a teenager (which, in the long run, was actually a blessing for Nan). I Read More

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Time for Rest

Well…the haikuhorizons prompt this week–“rest”–begged me to jump in.  Although it’s been a lovely and finally warm weekend, my mother’s family has, in the space of four days, lost two men still in the prime of their lives.  My mother’s cousin lost her (STBX) husband and the father of her three children to a heart Read More

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Death with Compassion:  Where is the Line? #1000Speak

Like most healthy couples, Hubs and I have had discussions about what happens if one of us gets sick. Not so much the day to day. More about our philosophies on life…and death. Of course we have our wills up to date, our financial affairs in order as much as possible, insurance policies to cover Read More

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Conversation In the Freezer – #Microstory

You were in pain for a week? I don’t understand.  The doctor’s office was friendly and efficient.  You could have made an appointment at a moment’s notice.  They say it could have been fixed! It’s too late now.  Your funeral is tomorrow. Image Credit:  morguefiles Follow Live by Surprise on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Bloglovin Live by SurpriseWant Live By Read More

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The Grandmother Diaries: Simple Memories

I’m still slowly working my way through her diaries.  Today, I thought perhaps I’d just write about all the memories that the entries are inspiring. My Gran was a formidable woman.  Despite her anxiety issues, she managed to raise two kids almost completely on her own. I remember her working in a mall jewelry shop Read More

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I’ll Love You Forever

Over each of my children’s beds is the quote from Robert Munsch’s most popular book: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.”   A reminder for each of them.  At the beginning and end of each day. If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve Read More

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