Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Life & Death

{Pearl Harbor, as the sun rose.}
Our recent trip to Hawaii was amazing. Relaxing, beautiful and inspiring. I believe a vacation isn't just about getting away from home...it's about getting away from everything. It's about unplugging from the world for just a moment (or 10 days in this particular case) and allowing life to be breathed back into your lungs. That's exactly what we did and exactly what happened.

Taking a time out from life has a way of bringing things into perspective. All the time we waste, the moments we take for granted and the small things we worry about, are truly nothing in the grand scheme of things. Being away from your regular life for a week has a way of making you realize that most of the things you obsess about really don't mean much of anything. The things that are actually important; your family, your goals and dreams and your love for those things are the driving force behind all that you do. Somehow, I managed to survive without the Internet or a lick of celebrity gossip for an extended period of time. I'm not sure how, but I did it. Today, as I return to my normal routine, it feels like someone charged my batteries for me while I was gone.

While we were away, a beloved member of the family passed away. My grandmother, Jane, died on December 21 after 93 very full years of life. She was one of those women that you couldn't help but admire--she was truly one of a kind. We were never allowed to call her "grandma" (she always said it wasn't a very classy term) she was Jane and she was our grandmother. She was feisty, independent and beautiful. She married my grandfather at 9:00 a.m. on a Thursday, just because she wanted to be different. She was an amazing artist. She loved to shop. She wrapped her library books in Seran Wrap, because they were dirty. She always had a stockpile of cookies in her freezer (which was how the nickname "Cookie" developed, coined by her great-grandchildren) and made the best chicken noodle soup I've ever tasted. She loved classical music, often tapping her toe on the gas pedal of her car to the music while her other hand directed the symphony in time. Jane always gave her opinion and she was usually right--especially about people. It was as though she just knew whether someone was good for you or not. She always said she was a tough old bird, and she was.

Above all else, Jane was as generous and kind as she was poised and beautiful. When you were in her presence, you could feel her love for you radiating across the room. Some of my most precious, beautiful memories are of her; as a child, she was a big part of my life. She and my aunt took me on numerous trips throughout the country; New York, Michigan, Florida, Arizona--they always took me along for the ride. We were traveling buddies and as I grew older, my admiration for Jane only grew stronger. I admired her individuality, her strong opinions and her incredible sense of humor. She was always the woman I aspired to be.

As the years went on, dementia took hold of Jane and it was devastating to watch her bright personality slowly fade away. When you love someone, it breaks your heart to see pieces of them disappear before your eyes. But as her ability to remember waned, our ability to remember her only intensified. Jane has left us, but her memory still remains, somewhere between Seran-wrapped library books and frozen cookies.


Missy Salsa said...

she sounds like a wonderful woman. The world has lost a great person :(

Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

Beautiful tribute to your Grandmother! My Granny passed away a few months ago too... It gets easier believing that somewhere, they are young and spry again! Running around with our other passed loved ones!


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