and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Today my paternal Grandma died.
She hasn't been well for sometime, but today at 2:30, she slipped away peacefully. My parents had just been to visit a couple of weeks ago, and my aunt and uncle arrived yesterday, so it seemed as though she was just waiting to see her children one last time.
She was 93, and had lived a long and full life, raised two children and had a career as a nurse. She outlived her first husband, my grandfather, by 33 years, and married another wonderful man, whom she outlived by nearly 15 years.
She was born in Minnesota to Finnish parents, and with my grandpa, raised my father and his sister in the suburbs of Chicago. By the time I remember them, they lived in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
They weren't the kind of grandparents that you played ball with, but I can remember working out in the yard with her. She used to say that her beautiful nails were the result of working in her garden. She took great pride in all of her flowers, but she loved her roses. Her backyard was covered in a bed of pine needles, which I used to love shuffling around in, much to her chagrin. She told me that ladies picked their feet up when they walked.
I can remember going to her house for Sunday Dinner. We probably didn't have roast lamb every week, but oh, I do remember it. Roast Lamb (no mint jelly, thankyouverymuch), mashed potatoes and gravy (with mushrooms) and steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce. For dessert, it was pie. Her pies were legendary. Blueberry, apple, peach. Even when she moved into a retirement community, people still loved getting dinner invitations from she and her husband, because they knew "Tulie's pies" were on the menu.
And then there was the biscuit. Her Finnish mother taught her how to make it, and when I asked Grandma to teach me, it was difficult, because she had to figure out the measurements. The tradition of Finnish Pulla will continue, Grandma.
I hadn't seen her since October 2000, when she met her first great-grandchild, my oldest son, who was three months old at the time. As of today, she had seven great-grandchildren: six boys and a girl. One of my prized photos is our "four generation" photo with my son, me, my father and my grandmother. She was so proud to have great-grandchildren.
Sweet Son #1 doesn't remember his great-grandma, and The Manimal has never met her, but my memories are sweet, and will live forever.
I love you Grandma.