Monday, February 11, 2013

Spunk & Spirit: My Grandma

This past Saturday, my Grandma Rice died. After seven years or so of Alzheimer's, and something ridiculous like two and half years of hospice (isn't that some kind of record?), she left this world for the next one. It wasn't a surprise, and I'm so grateful that she no longer has to inhabit the half-life of dementia, but it is still a loss. She had such a spirit about her: practical (she taught me how to scrub under my nails, a chore I still hate), generous in humor (even in the midst of her illness, there were flashes of her spunky self when she'd insert her ineffable wit), steadfast in her determination that all her grandchildren marry and have babies (repeatedly stating, "I'm the only one on my block who doesn't have great-grandchildren!). She flirted with my boyfriend when she met him, calling him "a doll," and refusing to let go of his hand. And she was so encouraging, declaring many times in the last decade that it was "just wonderful" that I was writing, even when I could tell she was just pretending to know who I was, and her encouragement has been rich food for my soul.  


Bess Rice, enroute to visit family

She's the second gal from the left sporting roller skates

She liked to say that her hobby was people, and she could have a two-hour conversation with a seat mate without any shared language. Her long, looping stories about her neighbors, life-long friends, and strangers revealed her deep interest in other people's lives and could sometimes drive you crazy if you lost the thread.

Her sense of humor and spunky spirit are a left-behind treasure for those of us who knew her, and I picture her entering a beautiful den, complete with cozy chairs and fireplace, to tell the friends and family members already waiting for her all the many stories she's collected along the way. Love you Grandma. Thank you for being mine.    
  

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