Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Diamond Glints on Snow

You would think, based on my series of Thanksgiving posts, that Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.  However, my fervor for Thanksgiving has traditionally been dwarfed by my absolute love for Christmas.  After Thanksgiving, I found myself in an unusual state of apprehension toward Christmas.  My ideas and plans for Christmas that I had set in June weren't feeling right, and I was lacking focus.  Could it be that I had managed to actually make myself sick of Christmas because I started too early? That was a feeling most bizarre to me. 
As it turns out, it was intuition urging me to pause.  Last Thursday, while I was doing dishes, I heard my phone continuously buzzing. It was my aunt asking if I knew where my mother was and why she wasn't picking up her phone?  My grandmother's care facility was trying to reach her because my grandmother was in very poor condition.  My mom has kept her phone at her side every moment since my grandmother became sick in 2007.  She is always paranoid about missing a call.  This particular morning she was in a doctor's appointment and had her phone on vibrate as a courtesy.  My aunt was headed over and I assured her I would reach my mother, one way or another.  Luckily, my first call to my mother was answered with only about ten minutes between my aunt calling me and me relaying the message to my mother.  It was time for hospice and maintaining her comfort--hoping she could pass peacefully. I wrote a thorough post on my grandmother's illness here --and my wording is confusing in this post. GG is my great grandmother, below is my grandmother.
My grandparents, though they divorced, remained very close
and in love in so many ways. 
It is such a weird feeling hoping someone you love will die.  You're almost terrified to say it aloud because it sounds so bad.  But the reality is that most people have had that experience or feeling for a loved one, and there is no sense keeping it in.  I asked my religious friends for prayers of comfort and mercy, and I asked my non-religious friends for their best wishes. 
While my mom and dad, aunt, and grandpa and L were taking unscheduled shifts at my grandma's bedside, I was doing my best to keep everyone fed.  And then some.  I did not stop cooking all weekend.  Even at 2AM with no one to feed, I was making vats of muffin batter for some unseen apocalyptic brunch when I just know I'll need five thousand muffins.  I feel lucky that I have this role in my family.  No one calls me for legal help or medical advice.  Everyone knows I am too emotionally unstable to handle anything other than making pasta and pies. 
Repeat, repeat, repeat

Not one to usually slum it on the floor, Barbie sensed my angst and
refused to leave my side.I had to bring her to work with me on Saturday.
We are very thankful that my grandmother went peacefully early Sunday morning. It's a rare occasion my mom sees the sunrise (unless she has been up all night making a tablecloth).  And I'm glad that if she had to be up early, it was the most spectacular morning.  A hoarfrost left the world glittering and icy blue, the perfect stage for the giant golden sun to climb through the trees.  I had forgotten that the day before was my great-grandmother's birthday.  As my mom and I sat and talked, alternating between crying and laughing, she told me that all Saturday she was feeling GG in an ambient way.  I had, too. 
My GG's house had a wonderful smell.  It was spicy and floral, kind of like grapefruit zest and whiskey.  Probably because she picked a grapefruit for breakfast and liberally poured Canadian Club the rest of the day.  But there is also that Floridian mildewy smell that still smells good in a weird way.  As I took a break from crimping pie crust, folding fruit into apocalyptic muffin batter, and transferring pasta from boiling water to yet another cream sauce, I took Barbie out.  It was a cold and clear evening.  Standing there as Barbie tried to trick a squirrel out of a tree, I was overcome with the aroma of GG's house.  I mean I might as well have been seven years old standing at her bar topping her whiskey and a splash off with more whiskey because my splash was too long.
My mom was glad to hear she wasn't crazy for feeling it. We then decided we should get everyone together for dinner.  I ran to the grocery for more pasta and wine. 
I figured I would also get some flowers, to make sure things didn't feel too bleak.  At first I was tempted to use my pink.  My pink is fuchsia, and very bold.  But as I thought more about it, I decided I would use my mother's shade of pink, which is very soft and peony-like.  Then, I had a duh moment and realized of course I should use my grandma's favorite shade of pink.  Her pink is shell pink, a little peachy and pastel and very sweet.  Though there were many dozens of roses in my pink and my mother's, there was only one dozen in my grandmother's shade.  I picked them up and figured I would supplement with other flowers.  As  I set them in my cart, I laughed in delight when I saw the variety name on their plastic surround. 
My GG's name
The roses are true conch shell pink, no?
GG and my mother.  GG never said "cheese" for a photo. She always
said "Knockers up! We paid good money for these!"
Note my GG's Standard Issue Queen Hair and my mother's
brushed out hot roller disco queen sideweeping do.
I busily began cooking when I got home and had myself in pretty good shape to feed 15ish at 6.  Around 3PM, I had the cakes in one oven, the bread in the other, buttercream whipping in my mixer, dishwashers running, tablecloths in the washer, and chicken in the sous vide. For a little while, my mom was sitting at my island and we were talking about signs.  I told her Ellie's beautiful story about her brother and his sign for her.  As  I walked from my range to my mixer, I heard a beep and the room went dark.  I looked around and the house was dark.  Fuuuuuuck. I heard my neighbor's generator begin to hum.  Truthfully, my first reaction was to throw a tantrum.  I was tired and upset.  I regrouped quickly and actually found the whole thing hilarious.  Like, of course.  On this beautiful day, hardly even a breeze in the air, my power goes out.  What to do?  I thought about packing up and cooking in my friend's kitchen, but I really didn't have time to leave and transport all my stuff.  I lit my grill, let it preheat a bit, and baked the cakes on the grill.  They turned out fabulously.  Feeling quite confident, I also tried to bake my bread on the grill.  It looked glorious! But smelled acrid and burned.  The smell of bread never lies, and it was blackened to a crisp on the bottom.  Oh well this isn't about bread I told myself. *Note-if I didn't include this link based on the title of Ellie's post, I could no longer call myself a gay man 
Losing daylight, I began to find the whole thing even funnier.  My kitchen was a mess, I had vegetable scraps in Himalayan proportion piling in the sink, and was making a salad by candlelight.  My vinaigrette was stupid and my attempt at parmesan-crusted grilled chicken was a shitshow.  My security system was beeping incessantly and I banged into a wall in my dark basement carrying up candles.  I finished that damn buttercream by hand, frosted my grilled cake, set the ugliest tables I have ever seen, and got started on the sauce. 
Good to know: in a pinch, a grill, rack, and sheet pan are an acceptable
makeshift oven (sheet pan is elevated, not directly on the grates)



I just couldn't help but think that my grandmother was somewhere, giggling hysterically with my GG at my rapidly unraveling plan.  This was precisely her kind of humor.  It reminded me of the time my grandpa's tooth fell out on vacation, and then we got kicked out of the restaurant because my sister and I were too young to be there, and then we made a wrong turn and ended up driving off the island, and then we drove back onto the wrong island, hit a grocery cart in a parking lot that we told my sister was a person, and tried to pay a road toll with twizzlers because no one had any change.  While my grandpa, sister, and I were intermittently annoyed by these circumstances (or traumatized in my sister's case), my grandma did not stop laughing for a second.  She did not like potty humor, foul language, or raunch, but she loved bumbling misadventure. 
I saw my grandpa pulling in my driveway and wondered how I could illuminate his path through the door.  All of the sudden, there was a voom of electronics retooling and the power was back on. 
I had my siblings, cousins, and I at one table in my kitchen, and my parents, aunts and uncles, and grandpa and L in my dining room.  I don't usually separate like that, but I knew they needed to discuss the memorial service/celebration of life.  I opted to exclude myself and siblings and cousins from that talk because it's not a matter where many opinions are helpful.  Had I been there, I would have forged ahead with my idea and done my best to shut everyone else up. So for once, I can safely say that I respected boundaries of decency.  They came up with a plan and  I think it will be wonderful. 
I continued to remind myself through the evening that this wasn't about the food, wasn't about the flowers or the table setting, it was about family.  It was about gathering, sharing our love for our mother/grandmother/adored (ex) wife.  My awful chicken, bad vinaigrette, and naked tables only made things better, and luckily my grill cake was pretty damn good. 
I have some plans for Christmas to include my grandmother beautifully and let her be the star, which she will love.  I have an entirely new plan for Christmas and am now ready to dive in.  I am way behind, but that's okay.  The decorations will not be showstoppers, and the food will be plentiful and easyish.  This may not be a year I wish to dazzle my family with Christmas, I think this is a year I simply wish to be with my family.  But don't think this means there will be any less MSDE or pinecone glittering next year.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die
Mary Elizabeth Frye

92 comments:

  1. Stephen Andrew
    This is a beautiful post. Your grandmother would be so proud of you. Also the rest of your family! - You bring them all together with such love and warmth around your table. This time to celebrate her special life and humour and to share happy memories of her. Blessings to you all. Pammie xxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Pammie! That is so sweet!

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  2. Stephen your GG would love this tribute...
    "Keep Calm and Carry On" resonates with me while reading your post. You are the real hub of the family...gathering them at your table and making them feel at home, fully aware and sensitive to their needs.
    Your GG said Knockers Up...
    my MIL also a GG says SEX!
    My heart goes out to you at this time in sympathy...XO

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    1. thank you! It is so important to keep the dinners going, isn't it? It really does help everyone feel better to laugh and be together. Sort of softens the edges.

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  3. You and I have spoken about this before, so let me just say I hope her passing was peaceful and I totally understand why it feels OK to let her go and not grieve the loss so much as celebrate that she is finally free and herself again. I'm glad your memories will be wonderful ones, she obviously loved her family very much and I'm sure she's watching over you and, yes, giggling at power outages and burned bread. I think you'll make your Christmas a fit tribute to her. ((hugs)) during this time to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you! You are exactly right! It's time to celebrate and remember more than feel sad and gloom. It makes me happy when I think that she's not stuck in a nursing home and can be wherever she wants to be!

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  4. This is truly a lovely tribute to your grandmother. Although we don't know each other, my thoughts are with you and your family.

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  5. Precious memories, and you are making more with your dinner events. I love that poem, the food looks delicious and your flower arrangement in her honor is beautiful! Wishes for comfort and peace to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, Marci! You're exactly right--well, about making new memories! The food...eh, wasn't my best! Haha

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  6. Precious memories, and you are making more with your dinner events. I love that poem, the food looks delicious and your flower arrangement in her honor is beautiful! Wishes for comfort and peace to you and your family.

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  7. What a lovely post. I too, have prayed for an older relative to go during the night because they have been suffering for too long and felt pure relief when they went. I love the roses.

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    1. Thank you! It's such an odd and upsetting feeling, but I know many people truly understand. I think it's sometimes a natural response to feel like no one understands. I try to always remind myself that often there will be several who truly do.

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    2. When my mother was 85 she begged me to pray that she'd die.
      She'd had a second knee replacement but afterwards while still in hospital suffered a series of mini strokes. The knee was a success but her life was never the same again. All the pleasure had gone - she was often confused and anxious and suffered terrible panic attacks. Though she knew what day it was and who was PM - she'd also lost some of her normal judgment. The last two years were a misery for her.
      I couldn't bring myself to pray for her death - but it was a relief to all who loved her when she died peacefully. Stephen Andrew, I'm sure there are many people who truly understand. Pammie xx

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  8. A beautiful tribute post to your Grandmother, who is of course looking down upon you as you gather the family together in your own unique way. Her special pink roses look divine. Best wishes for a beautiful and peaceful memorial for a special lady.

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    1. Thank you so much, Patricia! Yes, my own unique disastrous way! Haha

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  9. This is a beautiful post and GG would have gotten a good laugh about this misadventure too. Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time X

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    1. Thank you! She absolutely would have! GG and I have the same sense of humor, full of raunch and bad words! Haha when I was little, she taught me swear words in all languages so I could express my displeasure with teachers and they wouldn't know. My grandmother was equally hilarious but in a much sweeter way!

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  10. I guess you knew it was going to happen and I'm so happy for you that you have a new plan for Christmas. Also happy that your Grandmother went peacefully after her long illness, may she rest peacefully while having a few laughs.
    What a day you had with many signs and I'm sure your family appreciates your role so much, I think you are the glue holding everyone together Stephen Andrew! Big Hug to you. XX I loved this post and that poem is so perfect.

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    1. Thank you so much, Dani! I did have to do a little bit of glue mandating on Friday. There was a little disagreement that I just knew would blow up if the involved parties ever discussed it themselves. So I sat at my dining room table and called everyone and threatened they'd be hungry and lonely on Christmas if they didn't behave! I don't think middle children ever outgrow the role of mediator :)

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  11. Sending you hugs and prayers. May she rest in peace and you and your family be comforted by memories.

    My grandma had a fondness for whiskey, too. It kept her going until age 98. When she passed and we took her belongings from her room at the nursing home, I packed up 6 tubes of red lipstick and a bottle of perfume. She always said there was never any excuse for looking bad! (I put a lipstick in the casket so she would be prepared for heaven.)

    What a wonderful post and tribute to your grandmother.

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    1. Thank you so much. Oh I just love that about your grandmother! I'm sure she was so so happy with you that you remembered her lipstick!

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  12. reading this with tears falling down my face. I am so sorry. I love that photo of you and GG. Sending you a cyber hug.

    Love that standard issue Quenn hair and love "knockers up".

    xxxxx

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    1. Thank you FF! I'm sure this gave you many feelings about your own grandparents! I realized my post was a little unclear between grandma and great grandma (GG), I need to edit it. The last photo is my grandma who passed away this weekend and knockers up and SIQH is GG.
      In ham handling current events, the most important kind, I did some research the other night and I think that Australian ham is very different from the ham we get here in the U.S. Seems Aussie ham has a lot more character and unique flavor whereas US ham is much more processed. I wondered when you mentioned skin, because ham here never ever has skin. Also 1 pound of Aussie ham costs more than three entire U.S. hams. Such concludes the ham handling talk for this hour. There will be more.

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    2. You aren't alone FF, I am crying as well. I am deeply moved by your tribute to your Grandmother, friend. I am sending you and your family much Love and Strength right now, even if she is now in peace. You know how much I believe in signs and think that so much more is possible than we acknowledge. This gives me an odd kind of hope that we can keep our sense of humor once we have passed to the other side...*hugs and bisous to you*
      H.
      PS. Give Barbie a scratchie from me please for being such a good companion.

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    3. Thank you, Heather! I totally know what you mean-it's wonderful to think that we can keep our senses of humor! There have been so many signs! I haven't even hit on most of them in this post! Pretty amazing.

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  13. Crying at breakfast here. Stephen Andrew, you are a beautiful person and everything I read here is a tribute to your Grandma. We do what we are best at to shore up those we love--your Barbie knows this well. Peace and love to you and your family. ps: your family definitely has the good hair gene;-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda! I'm sorry that it meant you started your day with tears! You're so right. Luckily our strengths are well-divided so there's someone to do just about anything.
      Haha you are also right about the hair. We are soooooooooo lucky there.

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  14. Lovely post affirming your faith in your family. Peace and blessings and happy memories.

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  15. I agree--a lovely post. Peace to you all.

    On the ham front (because I grew up in the South and the South is all about the ham, especially for funerals), a REAL ham is uncooked and thus still has its skin, which you peel off after you've roasted it. Ask your butcher about a picnic shoulder.

    Peace out.

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    1. Thank you, Jean! And thank you also for this developing ham handling wisdom. I've never heard of this! I will ask indeed! I will be so excited to cook it myself!

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  16. A STUNNING TALE..........of LOTS OF LOVE!YOU ROCK STEPHEN ANDREW..............YOU ROCK!Please tell us if you see her or have a "SIGN" like ELLIE DID!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Contessa! There have already been many!

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    2. There you GO proof is in the pudding!Heaven awaits...........and it will be glorious!XX

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  17. Thank you for writing and sharing this. On top of dealing with your family and the emotions with the passing of your GG, you've shared it with all of us out here in cyber world and done it brilliantly as usual.
    Please never underestimate the power of your words. I hope that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Den x

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    1. Thank you so much, Den! That's such a kind thing to say. Hope to hear soon how your Christmas lunch is coming along!

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    2. I'm sorry for stuffing up and for mixing up your grandma and your GG. (Alert- technically deficient reader here but one who lovessssss your writing especially how you seamlessly slid the word "shitshow" into your post). Both of these women sound fabulous and I'm sure they are both with you.
      Will let you know about the Christmas street fest. Have bought wall of balloons ( water balloons) for the kids & dare I say it adults to throw around... Can see it all descending into chaos. Den xxx

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  18. What a beautiful tribute to your GG. Peace, prayers and smiles for you and your family!

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  19. Sad and joyful all at once. I think you have a lovely family, Stephen Andrew, and we are the lucky recipients of this sweet and funny story. May your beautiful grandmother rest in peace. The last photo of you two is beautiful.

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    1. Thank you so much! I was so happy looking through all the photos. There are thousands. And it's so sweet because in the vast majority of them, I am clinging to her! How wonderful to have them all now.

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  20. Bumbling misadventure, a woman after my own heart! The actual adventures are not always the greatest at the time, but the laughter and memories about them are priceless. Thank you for sharing your grandmother with us, lots of love to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much, Catherine! I know you know firsthand how this all goes and how bittersweet the end is. You are absolutely correct.

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  21. Bless you, wonderful post, you really do write from the heart and conjour pictures in my mind.
    What joy, what laughter and love you shared.
    Now to sneak downstairs to the fridge because you have made me hungry.

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    1. Thank you so much, Debra! I wish my grandma would have been a touch more polite like your mother and just flickered the lights rather than turned them off! :)

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  22. A beautiful tribute to your GG. she must have been a wonderful person to know. It was time for her to leave, now have a HAPPY celebration of her life with the family and friends.

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  23. A beautiful tribute to your GG. she must have been a wonderful person to know. It was time for her to leave, now have a HAPPY celebration of her life with the family and friends.

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  24. A beautiful tribute to your GG. she must have been a wonderful person to know. It was time for her to leave, now have a HAPPY celebration of her life with the family and friends.

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  25. A beautiful tribute to your GG. she must have been a wonderful person to know. It was time for her to leave, now have a HAPPY celebration of her life with the family and friends.

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    1. Thank you so much! You are right! We are doing just that!

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  26. So sorry to hear this news about your grandmother Stephen. Such a sad thing to happen at this time of year. I'm sure that you and your family will draw comfort from each other around the table whatever you decide to cook for them. Take care.
    Cindy F

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    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! In a way, I'm glad it happened this time of year. It's bittersweet but I am so happy she is not stuck in that body anymore. And now we can really celebrate her! I'm having another dinner tomorrow, hopefully it will run more smoothly :)

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  27. So many great descriptions of your grandmother and the rest of the family. The pink flowers....perfect and my favorite. I really think she was present when the lights went off. You have quite a family and I am so sorry for your loss. Peace.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lori! I think so too!

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  28. Tears are streaming down with your post. I lost my mom 7 years ago after praying for many years before that for her to pass on. She was in so much pain and constantly asking why she had to endure it for so long; her passing was a blessing. I was her youngest child and she died on my birthday. I was so upset at that until I realized it was her last gift to me. I no longer had to leave her bedside in tears knowing how racked with pain she was. She visited me in a dream about a month later. She looked so vibrant and healthy, and flashed her beautiful smile that I hadn't seen for so many years. She was also swinging her legs (just like a kid on a swing!) which let me know she was really ok: she was an amputee due to the uncontrolled diabetes. God bless you and your family. It sounds like your grandmother was and will continue to be, surrounded by so much love.

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    1. Oh that is so, so wonderful your mother visited you in a dream! I have had that happen once with an aunt and it REALLY is a different kind of dream that usual. Love your outlook on her leaving on your birthday. I'm sorry you had to live through that with your mother. So painful. Thank you so much for your comment!

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  29. Stephen Andrew, I am sending you my deepest condolences. My mom and I are struggling right now to find a cause for her pain and it's been a long day. Reading your post brought tears and a lot of smiles; the mark of a great storyteller, you'll laugh, you'll cry. I'm always inspired by you. Sending hugs.

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    1. Thank you so so much, Karen! I'm sorry about your mother! I know she is tough as nails and not one to complain, so she must really be in pain. So hoping you can find the source of her pain and make her comfortable! Luckily you are a pro at maneuvering doctors and diagnosis.

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  30. I'm new to your blog, but I absolutely love it! I'm so sorry about the loss of your beloved Grandmother. I really enjoyed your photos and I have to say that everyone in your family is so beautiful and very stylish. Every family should be so lucky to have someone like you. You've inspired me to be kinder to my family or kind once again. I am kind but I get my feelings hurt because I don't feel appreciated and then I retreat to leave them to themselves. I need to get over it. Thank you! My Grandma was beautiful too and very stylish. You would have liked her and she you. xx Valorie

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    1. Thank you so much, Valorie! I understand what you mean about family. The truth is that I only do it for those who appreciate it and are working on the relationships just like I am. I have lots of family I'm happy to keep a pleasant interaction with, but not close relationships. One person can't do all of it, I certainly don't. So I hope you don't feel like you should either. That being said, it never hurts to try. I often remind myself that much of what I do for family is because *I* want to do it. Id be cooking, baking, setting tables, and decorating for holidays anyway. It's just obviously much nicer to enjoy all of that with family. But those who have been rude or don't care to invest in the relationships don't get the same treatment. Should I admit that? Haha :)

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  31. I think many people reading understanding about the waiting, and the feeling of release. I'm so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to your G and GG, and I can see your love for your family in the words written here and in the feeding that you do. Love the roses sign from above. I had one like that after my Mum died. My last sort of two way conversation where she could reply I told her I'd planted a particular rose in my garden, and she said "Oh I do love Sharifa Asma". She wasn't saying a lot at that point. The roses bloomed for the first time on her birthday about a month after she died, which I thought was very fitting. xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Heidi! Oh I just love love this story about your rose! I have no doubt she sent it to you. It's such a comfort seeing and feeling these signs!

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  32. What a lovely lovely tribute to your G and GG, I hope they have seen it and your frantic antics, which say love all on their own. The roses are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Yes, I'm quite pleased if they were able to have a good laugh at my expense :)

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  33. i thought i loved you before.
    but now.
    this is a tour de force of beauty
    and love and sorrow and family memories
    and
    your signature fantastic humour...
    and
    simply an illumination of life itself!
    i didn't cry until the name of her roses.
    surely a sign.
    bless you darling stephen andrew.
    bless you real good.

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    1. Thank you, Tammy! You are so sweet. I'm glad you found the humor in this post. I always try to as it makes hard times much easier.

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  34. stephen andrew i so know that what that waiting period feels like. i'm so glad she passed beautifully to the other side. you are an exceptional human being my friend. so chilling that the roses shared her name right?! xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet! I know! It was amazing! We were feeling her all day knowing that she'd be there for her daughter.

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  35. Godspeed to your beloved grandmother -- her rose-pink soul shines in you!

    I read this passage for my late mum:

    "To lose the earth you know - for greater knowing;
    to lose the life you know - for greater life;
    to leave the friends you have loved - for greater love;
    To find a land more kind than home, more large than earth -- whereon the pillars of this world are founded, toward which the conscience of the world is tending -
    A wind is rising - and the rivers flow.

    By Thomas Wolfe

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    1. That is so beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing that!

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  36. You are a loving kind soul, but spicy too! I like that. Thank you for sharing a lovely tribute. You might find some comfort in a book called Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, MD. It's comforted me.

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    1. Haha, thank you! will look into that book, thanks!

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  37. *sigh* I loved everything about this post...the love, the togetherness of family, memories and emotions. All the best, and most important things in life. Merry Christmas SAJ, and may memories of your dear grandmother always bring a smile to your face.

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    1. Thank you so much! You are absolutely right! Merry Christmas to you!

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  38. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. So many mixed feelings. But good she is at peace and free again. Love the roses.

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    1. Thank you! It is a bittersweet thing, but you're right--her peace and freedom are a comfort now. It feels good to not think of her as being trapped anymore.

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  39. Hello Stephen. I am very sorry to read of the passing of your much loved grandmother. One of the most beautiful, funny and respectful post I have ever read was your post 'I'll remember her that way.' What a comfort and blessing for you and your mother to have witnessed a beautiful sunrise and the variety of roses called Sandra. Love the 'Knockers up ' quote. In our family we say 'Chin up darling, all of them.' Wishing you and your family comfort and blessings during this time.

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    1. Thank you- and thank you so much for saying that about that post. It was funny because my mom asked "are mornings always this pretty? No wonder you like them" haha. Love your family's photo quip! I should be using that one! Thanks again

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  40. I'm stunned by how beautifully you captured the raw, and the loving, and the in-the-moment pinball-like times that go on before and immediately after the passing of a loved one. I hear your love for family in every word.

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    1. Thank you so much, Connie! Pinball-like is a very good way to put it. Careening between laughter and tears, with lots of carbs in between! Merry Christmas!

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  41. Oh Stephen what a beautiful tribute, and to think you felt her presence and was touched in some way by GG telling you she was okay now and all was well. I am sure she was so proud to have had you as her grandson. XO K

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    1. That is so very sweet of you, thank you! It really is amazing to feel and see such clear signs! Merry Christmas! I would love it if you posted about your Irish Christmas traditions! You know, if you're accepting requests :)

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  42. Beautiful words, Stephen! Such a poignant tribute to GG. I love her shade of pink :) So flattering! Look forward to seeing your holiday home. And what you come up with for the menu. Stay fabulous, L

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    1. Thank you so much, Loi! Merry Christmas! Are you and Tom hosting? Or did one of your sisters pull the card this year! :)

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    2. Dad is hosting this year! And we are all bringing a dish....Tom and I get to do the ham (store bought which you already know :)

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  43. Stephen, Thinking of you. Loved this story and tribute to your GG. She must have been there in spirit with all that happened. Keep her in your heart and her love of mischief that you seem to have and she will always be with you. xo Kim

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    1. Thank you so much! You're absolutely right, I have GG's mischief and raunchy sense of humor and my grandma's love for finding the humor in everything going wrong! Merry Christmas!

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  44. A story to remember. And you are so vivid in all your postings, as though we might really be coming to know you here. My best wishes to your family.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! Merry Christmas!

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  45. Great story and I too believe life must go on. I am new to your blog and it is outstanding. You are a fabulous writer. I went back and read every one of your posts and through many I laughed out loud. Wish I still lived in Columbus. Only come up to visit on occasion. Also LOVED your bar hedge from last year. You are smarter and better than Martha S that is for sure.

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    1. Welcome! Wow, I can't agree there but I'll accept it and say thanks anyway :) haha. Oh I loved the bar hedge too! My mom still talks about how much she disliked it! "Just so heavy". Thanks again! Merry Christmas!

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