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March 6, 2010

Reflections on the Art of Living…  and Dying

We lost Grandma yesterday.  When I say “lost” I mean that in the truest sense:  It is a loss that we will feel always.  There is an empty space that used to be filled with the light that she reflected.

There comes a time when you must accept the fact that a loved one can not stay forever.  Certainly that was the case with Grandma.  She would have been 110 years old next month.  That in itself is amazing, but what is more amazing is that up to the end Grandma was the most alert, engaged, and relentlessly positive woman that I have ever met.  Until her final days Grandma lived alone in her apartment in a senior community, answering her own phone and doorbell.  She could speak animatedly to visitors about politics, current events, travel, cooking, and her beloved Colorado Rockies baseball team.  Grandma took great satisfaction in the simple pleasures of life, and those were the things that she chose to focus on.  At least once during every visit we made to see her she would fold her hands in her lap, smile, and say, “I’ve had a good life!”  Grandma was a model of the art of living.

Grandma began to fail a few short weeks ago.  Mercifully she did not linger for very long.  But Grandma did not go without leaving us with a final lesson, this time on the art of dying.  After being moved to the care facility Grandma spent more time sleeping, and needed help with the rudiments of daily living.  Increasingly in pain, complicated by a fall out of bed in the middle of the night, Grandma was entirely dependent upon others.  Despite her discomfort, all acts of kindness and care were met with a heartfelt “thank you”, often mouthed with a smile because she lacked the strength to say it out loud.   Her gratitude never waned.   It was the truest reflection of the beautiful person within.  I consider it her parting gift to all of us.

Grandma Adah

April 23, 1900-March 4, 2010

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 6:15 am

    What a gal!
    …oh to have that much grace and grit someday…

  2. January 25, 2011 4:09 am

    She sounds like such a remarkable woman–and a rare one. How blessed your family was to have had her.

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