August 5, 1924 - February 25, 2008
Grandma was a pioneer. A traditional and modern woman, she believed in making the most of whatever you were given. Her passion for cultivation may have been most noticeable in the plants that adorned her home, but it was most lasting in the families of the seven children she raised.
Grandma was an extraordinary woman. She was selfless. In true matriarch fashion, Grandma quietly supported her family. She was a hard-worker, working alongside her husband in numerous restaurants and resort cafes to help support the family. Through it all, she remained strong and triumphant. She remained undeterred. She was a stoic woman.
When I was a young girl, I spent many summer days with Grandma and Grandpa. I loved being near them, listening to them share stories. Learning from them. It is my grandparents to whom I owe my love of family history, a gift they bestowed upon me in those early years.
Not one to show her emotion, Grandma was beyond doubt an unsung hero. Grandma’s caring nature was also evident in her work as a foster parent. She dedicated herself to the children of broken homes for two decades.
When I think of her, I think of her warm embrace. On my bad days, she would hold and comfort me. Grandma would wrap me in her arms and protect me from the rest of the world, and make me feel that everything was going to be all right. Yet there was still so much more to my grandmother.
She loved to travel. When she was planning a trip to Hawaii with her sisters I asked her to bring me back a Hawaiian boyfriend. Imagine my surprise when she did just that... a postcard of a Hawaiian man standing discretely in the waves, dressed only in his birthday suit.
Grandma made the best potato salad, lefse and for those of us brave enough, lutefisk. I once asked for her recipes - she said she didn’t use them, but for Christmas one year, she took the time to write them out for me in her own hand. A gift I’ll cherish forever.
Grandma loved to knit and crochet. She made afghans for each of her grandchildren. She enjoyed crafting things by hand, even rubber trees with prophylactics.
Shortly after my aunt asked me to write Grandma’s obituary, I realized that I had never known my grandmother’s life story. I don’t know the struggles she must have had raising seven children. I know I struggle at times and I have only two. But it is enough for me now that I knew what her house smelled like, the broadness of her smile, the light in her eyes, her love of cooking, the sound of her laugh, the firmness of her voice, and the fact that she loves me.
I love you, Grandma.