I have been pondering on making this post, I feel torn about making something I feel is so private, public. On the other hand, I feel blessed to have great support in my life from my boyfriend, family, loved ones and friends and others. That is what has made me to decide to continue with this post. I have learned that reaching out, speaking about whats going on in my life will almost always provide a better solution as opposed to shutting off from the universe. Also, out of respect and honor for my passed Grandmother. I loved her and I wish prayers and thoughts for her and all those who were loved and passed recently. Also, a way to say thank you for everything.
Yesterday was a terribly sad and happy relief day for my family. My Grandmother passed quietly in her nap. She passed at an old age and peacefully without much pain. This is beautiful because she did not endure agony, and she was not taken early either. Either way it was still unexpected and we thought she would be around longer (if not forever) with us.
I have been so fortunate to have my grandmother in my life so extensively and for so long. She was a unique, strong, beautiful woman. She loved New York, but she moved to the South and helped raise me and my siblings. We used to play at her house every day after school growing up until my parents got off work. She taught us to eat vegetables, she made me laugh so many times with play jewelry, makeup, scarves and more. As a baby I would sit on her couch in her home- looking through a kaleidoscope at the oil paintings done by her mother and uncles and grandfather. I remember the smell of her house back then a combination of old things, perfume, baked potatoes and mostly knowledge. She and her husband were both literaries, published, thinking types. They enjoyed watching the news and soap operas. She used to write long letters, pages of tiny, perfect, trained cursive hand writing to politicians about the state of the nation and human condition. We used to play with a heavy medicine ball and trampoline that she kept in her house for years. As I grew older, her house became the occasional safe haven from the rest of the world- teenage boys, bad traffic, school work and more. She would tell me stories of growing up, of her mother, father and brother, of living on a farm as my mother and her siblings grew up. In some ways it is hard to remember things now- I remember her smiling eyes, her voice, her triumphant rants, her laughter, her appreciation for the arts which rubbed off on me. She was always a support system to me. She was always sweet, passionate, a little bright burning flame.
Another sad event happened in early May this year- our family dog, Lucy, our first dog passed. She was the sweetest, adoring dog there ever was. She was kind, loving, always at the door wagging her tail, plus back legs and rear end wagging when you came home. She always greeted you at the door. When I turned 13 years old my father and I flew to NC to pick her out of her liter of puppies. She was a French Brittany Spaniel. I remember sitting in a pile of whimpering, licking, playing puppies and we agreed she was the one. Perfect temperament, playful, confident, outgoing, loving but not a bully and not too shy. Lucy had big sweet eyes and an orange and white coat with soft whisky fur and ears. She was loyal. Lucy never ran away, she never chased other animals, she liked being at home with her family. Lucy tried to be a hunting dog, but she loved the woods, going for hikes on trails and running in the wild. She loved walks and going for runs. She loved playing with her toys- she had some favorite ones that had to be bought repeatedly over the year including a plastic porcupine, a soft hedgehog and a squeaking stuffed animal duck. Lucy loved going down to the lake and jumping in even on days the water was dirty. My ‘Wucy’ was there from age 13-27 for me, she was my go to for teenage cries, hugs, early college photography and painting courses and more. Lucy liked taking naps with her kids (my siblings and I), Lucy was a dear companion to us all, to my youngest brother later on especially when the rest of us had moved out. Lucy was our first dog, our first family dog she will always be that forever. She will always be loved dearly and remembered as so. Lucy was a combination of mom, sister, and child. Lucy was a a family member, a best friend. We were her family.
” My little friend and I will always be together. Always. Frolicking in sunbeams in the infinite moment. But he could only teach me this by breaking my heart in death. My first guru had four feet. I guess my Buddhist friends were right after all. Sometimes we gain through loss. We just need to be willing to see the lesson and let ourselves grow through the pain.” – Brooke Burgess
These two passed family members are so close to my heart, I love them both dearly. I am thankful to have them in life, to have learned from them and shared with them memories. I will always remember them.
A Poem for my Grandma
Our Grandma was a very strong woman,
She was a survivor,
She was strong-minded,
Stubborn and smart,
Grandma was beautiful.
Now I think of her and I think she is free,
Gone from us physically,
But in our hearts and memories,
Flowing and free as the wind.
As a woman,
She grew up in New York,
She was a literary,
A play advocate,
Taught students Public Speaking,
She married the love of her life,
Became a wife,
A farmer in New Jersey,
And later a grandmother, and a great-grandmother,
From a Yankee to a Southerner,
A fervent health nut,
And a passionate political mind.
Grandma loved her walks and she never left the house without her hair curled and her lipstick.
Her ashes are brought to the ground after 97 and half years,
She passed peacefully on September 17, 2013 of old age.
She lived a long life and was a grandmother to me for many years,
She taught me many things in life- she taught me to eat vegetables and anything else I wanted with mayonnaise,
She taught me about the TV Guide,
We had our first Nintendo 64 at her house,
She taught me about a trampoline,
She read me books,
She taught me to not worry about mean people,
She taught me to appreciate art,
She taught me how to be a Grandma bunny rabbit with 3-meals of salad a day and then we agreed a steak quesadilla finished with an ice cream split was better,
She told me stories of her childhood, growing up, generations before her,
She taught me about what having a brother to her was about, about growing up in the early 1900’s, about living in New York during those times,
Grandma saw the world change from prohibition to everyone having cars, television’s, cassette tapes, and now e-mail! Not to mention the changes in political and worldly times.
Grandma was a trooper, curious of mind and light of heart.
My Grandma was always there when she was needed,
My Grandma, a mother to my mom,
A sharer of childhood stories for all three generations and beyond,
She will remain in our memories and forever held in our hearts,
Grandma your love shines on us all who were so lucky to be part of your family,
Your unconditional love, your chuckling laughter,
We will always carry you with us in our hearts.
May you look down on us with pride on what you brought
Into this world,
As you enter your new heavenly home, find a resting place to remain and rest in peace, for which you truly deserve,
You will be missed and remembered for your kindness, love and principle in which we will preserve.
We love you always and forever, may god be with you.
By Lauren Seaman
September 17, 2013
For the late Elizabeth (Betty Bunny) Walton Hawkins
Inspired by the poem, “My Darling Grandma, In Memory Poem” by Margaret Rivera