Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ode to my Grandma


My very dear grandma died last night. Our family was (almost) all there with her, which was wonderful and also bittersweet.

She was a huge influence in my life, in many ways, not least of all the way I eat.

When I was born, my grandparents were living in Ghana, volunteering for the Peace Corps. It was a very special experience for them, and I think they would have enjoyed staying for another couple years, except that my grandmother had some heart problems. They came back to the states, and my grandmother completely changed her diet in order to live a long, healthy life. She went from someone who ate any ol' thing, loads of sweets and ice cream and soda... to becoming a faithful devotee of the Pritikin diet: No Fat, No Salt, No Sugar.

My entire childhood, she was completely strict about her diet. She was always athletic too - running, walking everywhere, swimming at the public pool. All these big changes happened 34 years ago - and we are all so grateful to her for commitment to her own health. We got so many more wonderful years together with her as a result!

We also all had a truly inspirational model of health & discipline. She ran our local women's 5-mile race for years and years, up until only about 2 or 3 years ago. And, they kept having to add new age divisions, just so that she could win the trophy for her age group!

Sometime around my college years, I noticed that my grandma began having a small piece of cake at birthday parties, or a chocolate chip cookie after dinner. Her staple was fat free ice cream... but she was happy to enjoy a naughty indulgence too. This is actually one of my favorite things that I learned from her - the balance of discipline with small joys. I definitely inherited her sweet tooth, and always enjoyed baking treats for her to enjoy. The very last thing she ate was a Reese's peanut butter cup. Even with her very reduced ability to talk, lying in the hospital bed, she was saying "mmmmmmm" as she ate it. I love that.

Overall, both of my grandparents have been brilliant sources of inspiration to me (and my whole family) - particularly in their ability to live their lives with total integrity, benevolence, and love. In all, they were married for 67 years, and were still truly as in love as they ever were.

Aside from being a passionate advocate of healthy eating, my grandmother was also a wonderful gardener, an extremely crafty creator, a committed environmentalist and volunteer, an early adopter of computers, and a passionate lover of the great outdoors. I'll really miss her.

19 comments:

  1. Your grandmother sounds like an extraordinarily amazing woman. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Your tribute to her is very touching.

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  2. Very sorry for your loss. She seems like she lived a wonderful and fulfilling life. If we all could do so much as she did in her life. We would never have any regrets.

    RIP Grandma.

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  3. "the balance of discipline with small joys"--a precious thing to learn, I'm glad you had her to teach you this and be a part of your life. All my best to you and your family--I'm really sorry for your loss.

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  4. I'm sorry for your loss. I know how to tough it is to lose someone so close to you, especially a role model. She seemed to be such an amazing person. You were very lucky to have her. It's great that she had a very healthy, fun, active life. I hope to do the same for the rest of my life and to set examples for my children and grandchildren.

    My thoughts are with you.

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  5. Amey, I am so sorry for your loss - reading about your grandmother and the profound effect that she had on your life, was beautiful. Cherish the memories that you have of her, and continue to follow her wonderful life lessons that she has taught you.

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  6. Your grandma was an extraordinary woman, Amey. You are so lucky to have had her in your life for so long. I lost two of my grandparents in the space of a year, twenty years ago and I remember it being a very hard time to get through...they were so young.
    I'm sure you will miss her. May the memory of her bring you joy and peace.
    I'll think of you <3

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  7. So very sorry Amey to hear about your grandmother. She sounded like such a special lady and your post is a wonderful tribute to her memory.
    Lots of hugs to you and your family...

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  8. I'm sorry for your loss, Amey. What a great tribute you've given her. I remember many posts where you mentioned her and I always thought "what a great lady!" Enjoy the lessons you learned from her and the memories you'll keep.
    xo
    Diann

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  9. What a touching post. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing person, she made the changes a lot of us wish our family members could make but often don't. I had to laugh when I read the part about her eating a pb cup - my grandma loved sweets, and up until she passed away, you could often find all 90 lbs of her in her wheelchair, unable to talk or move much, with a candy bar in her hand. It's all about the simple pleasures, isn't it?

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  10. I'm so sorry - your grandma sounds like a wonderful person. What a nice tribute to her, and a fantastic example of the magic of leading natural life.

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  11. I'm so sorry about your loss. What wonderful memories you have of her. She sounds like an amazing person.

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  12. Oh, Amey, I am so very sorry for you and your family's loss. Your grandmother sounded like an awesome lady, and it is so clear the love you had for her and the lessons you learned from her. I mean, she's still teaching all of us through you- like Emilie, I'm in love with the quote "balancing discipline with small joys" sounds like a prescription for a love well-lived.
    My condolences to you. {hugs}

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  13. Amey, you've written such a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Thank you so much for sharing this special woman with us. Her story is truly inspirational.

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  14. I'm so sorry. I'm glad that she lived such a full and well-loved life. I never know what to say at times like these, words seem so insufficient...

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  15. Amey, I am so sorry for your loss. Her life is truly inspirational and thank so much for sharing this with us.

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  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. This post was a beautiful tribute to someone you obviously loved and admired very much.

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  17. oh my goodness, Amey, I am so sorry for your loss! :(

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  18. Amey, what a beautiful tribute to the love family members share. I am so sorry for your loss. I'm sorry you're experiencing the pain of losing a loved ones, I know it well, when I lost my Nana, I lost one of my best friends. If there's anything I can do, don't ever hesitate to ask.

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  19. so sweet to talk about your special grandma in your bloog, I'm sorry she passed away... my beloved grandma died a few years ago but she is always here with me and all the things she taught me. :)

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