Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've Been Away....



grieving and celebrating the life of my Grandma Razz. She died on April 5th at age 79. The funeral service was on April 10th in Portland.

I wish I had brought my camera home with me. I just didn't see the point in bringing a camera to a funeral. But there was so much beauty that weekend, so much to celebrate. If I had my camera, I would have taken a picture of....

*The guy on Hawthorne commuting to work via unicycle.....I never tire of Portland's quirkiness.

*How peaceful and beautiful my grandmother looked in death. Dressing her for burial with my mom, my aunt and cousins was an unexpectedly great bonding experience. Afterwards, my aunt brought Uno bars for us to share. (They were her favorite candy bar and the one that my grandpa and her shared on their first date to the movies...she must have been about 14 at the time).

*The tiny pioneer cemetery out in Carver, OR where we laid her to rest. Spring in full bloom, Mt. Hood looming in the background. I could have stayed out there for hours.

*The fire trucks at the church right after the funeral. There was a small electrical fire in the church offices and a small moment of panic when we realized many precious family pictures, my grandma's vintage accordian, and my cousin's $12k bass were inside the church. Luckily, nothing was damaged.

My grandma's life was marked by so many important events in our country's history. She was born at the beginning of the Great Depression. She spent her teenage years dancing and singing at USO events to support the troops during World War II. She remembered the whistles and horns blowing through downtown Portland, signaling the end of the war. She raised her kids in the 50's and 60's and gracefully made the fashion transition from hoop skirts to Jackie O chic. A New Deal Democrat, I am only now realizing how much her thinking shaped my own world view. I was lucky enough to grow up just a couple of miles from her and my Grandpa. They both are intertwined through my entire catalog of childhood memories.

The reality is that my Grandma had Alzheimer's and has not been truly with us for awhile. I started grieving her way before the funeral happened, and I will continue to miss her. Watching her mind, and then body, deteriorate over the past few years has been heartbreaking.

Instead, I am trying to remember her as she looked in this photo with my Grandpa. My vibrant, happy, ever-elegant Grandma Razz.

3 comments:

rtfgvb770 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Sara said...

This was beautiful Jen. And that picture of your grandmother is so elegant :) I'm so sorry for your loss - I know how hard it is to lose a beloved grandma :)

THE NORRIS FAMILY said...

I loved getting to know Grandma Razz through your eyes, Jen! Thank you for sharing her! A camera wouldn't have caught anything better than you've captured it here.