Dad called and left a message this morning that my Grandmother had passed away last night in her sleep at 85 years. We had all been anticipating this for a while, she had been stricken with cancer, and diabetes. My heart goes out to my Dad because I cannot imagine losing my Mother and even though he is at peace with everything, I know he's feeling pretty grounded today.
Grandma Frances was a strong, tall, (literally over 6 foot tall), and powerful woman but she was also very compassionate; especially to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She lived in a day when she had to work, not for equal pay or for community status, but just to survive. Her family got hit hard by The Great Depression which eventually led to her and her husband to sell off all of their farmland.
The relationship between her and my parents can be talked about at another time, but despite everything, she was always very kind to me. I would always get a check for ten dollars on my birthday and for Christmas. She used to cook large meals that could feed armies every day and loved having Dave and me over to swim in the muddy waters of the Rappahannock River.
She had such a great knowledge about my family history. She was a living history book herself. She had knowledge about both of my great grandparents who fought in the Civil War and knew a little something about every branch on her family tree. I used to sit and listen for hours to her recall living in a time that we cannot even imagine today.
I'll cherish all of those memories.
She fought to hold onto life up to her last day, never once complaining about being in pain though we all knew she was suffering terribly. She was very alert and sharp the last time Janine and I saw her. I know she was pulling hard for her Tarheels basketball team to win it all this year, and I'll be pulling for them this year too. For Grandma.
I know she's at peace and lived a very full life. She is survived by hundreds and celebrated by all.