Sunday, April 15, 2012

M is for Mary

Yesterday was my grandmother's funeral.  She passed away a few weeks ago at 90 years old.  My grandma Mary was the most influential women I have had in my life.  She is who I want to be and I strive to come even close to the woman that she was.  A mother of 7 children, grandmother of 12 grandchildren, and great-grandmother of 16 great-grandchildren, and loving wife of 70 years to my grandfather.  She was an army nurse in Word War II and as a child I aways enjoyed hearing her stories.  She is who inspired me to become a nurse myself.

  My mother and sister and I lived with my grandparents off and on throughout my childhood, as things were always unstable with my mother and father.  My father passed away when I was10 years old.  It was that point that we moved in for a long period with my grandparents until my mother could get back on her feet again.  Even after we moved into our own place, my grandparents were just down the street and I enjoyed visiting my grandma Mary often.  We had so much in common-shopping, fashion, "sparkly things" (as in jewelry)!  I remember my grandma understanding me even more than my mother did.  I loved everything about her.  Her smell, her pretty face, but most of all her laugh.  I will never as long as I live forget that hearty, almost hysterical laugh.  And the facial expressions she made while laughing were equally priceless. 

My grandfather died almost exactly a year ago, and they say that once one goes, the other won't be too far behind.  That was true in this case, although my grandma didn't really even remember my grandpa anymore.  We lost her about 7 years ago to dementia and Alzheimer's. Can you imagine not remembering the man you were married to for over 70 years?  Every time I visited her she would ask the same questions over and over again, and that eventually it turned into less and less memory and recognition.  My last visit to her she seemed to remember me, but didn't recall my children, although bless her soul she was good at pretending she did! 

 I remember after my grandfather's funeral, which she was too ill to attend, my uncle and cousins and I showed her a photo of her and grandpa together and said, "this is you and Jack, he passed away and we had his funeral today".  She stared for awhile at the photo of the two of them, then touched it and said, "oh he looks like such a nice man, bless his heart".  Tears welled up in all of our eyes at her complete lack of being able to grasp his death, though we also saw it as a blessing in disguise.

I will end this post with the two pieces of advice that my grandma Mary gave to me that will always stick with me.  She told me that to be a good mother, you cannot have one selfish bone in your body.  And on marriage, she said, "never marry a man who is prettier than you, or you will always wonder if the girls are trying to steal him!" I laugh out loud every time I tell that one :-)

Rest in peace grandma Mary, you will be missed, loved, and cherished forever.


  1. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful role model, Lisa...and to think she lived so long! I'm glad you has such close contact for most of your life, and good that your children knew her as well. A wonderful tribute...your grandma would be proud of you. Hope you enjoy the remainder of the challenge...


  2. This is such a beautiful memorial post. Thank you for sharing the blessing of your grandmother. She sounds like a very inspiring lady. I'm glad you were able to be close to her, and I love your description of her laughter.

  3. How sad and sweet! I never got to know my grandmothers as one died years before I was born and the other died when my mother was pregnant with me. It would have been nice to talk to them. Sorry for your loss