Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saying Goodbye

My grandmother died today, she was 93 and she lived a good life. We called her Gebby, one of my cousins trying to say Grandma managed to say Gebby instead, it stuck. Her life wasn't always easy, but I think she preferred it that way. She lived through and remembered well the Great Depression, World War II and the Kennedy assassination. She was thrifty, talented and insatiably curious about everything and everyone. She was surrounded by her children when she passed into the next life and she will be celebrated next week by her many surviving progeny...all 4 generations of them. Sometimes it is hard to live far away, but it is especially hard at moments like these. We won't make it back to the funeral, and that saddens me. But, I will be there in spirit thinking of this woman who touched my life in so many ways. I am sorry my children won't know her, but grateful that she had a chance to meet them. The last time I saw her was almost exactly 2 years ago. We made a long, hot drive from Utah to Arizona so she could meet Isaac. I will always be grateful we were able to do that.

Me, Isaac, my Dad and Gebby

My parents have always believed that family is important and we spent a lot of time with our Gebby when I was a child, even when our daily lives were separated by an ocean. She was extremely well-read, had a memory like a steel trap, and an endless array of songs, fingerplays and dramatic pieces at her fingertips. She was born in February and made purple her signature color. Everything in Gebby's world was purple, from her socks to her toothbrush to her dishes. It was borderline excessive, this obsession she had with all things violet, but it was part of her charm and certainly made her unforgettable. If heaven is anything like I think it will be, then Gebby has just taken up residence in a lavender-hued kingdom where she'll be waiting for us all to join her. And, if I know Gebby, she'll won't be waiting patiently or quietly. I'll miss her, but I've got my memories to keep me company until we meet again.

This is Gebby singing "Little Dog Jack" to Isaac when they were introduced in the summer of 2008. It is a song my great-grandmother dreamed up and sang to Gebby when she was a child. All of Gebby's grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even most of the great-great-grandchildren know it well.

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