Friday, September 23, 2005


I'm not going to post a lot today. In fact, I'm going to spend most of the day off line. My grandmother, Frieda, died last night. My father's mother was living with the parents where she was cared for closely during a protracted illness which included Alzheimer's. Over the last several years, she never really suffered. She had moments of lucidity and, when those failed, her disease mostly left her with happy and sometimes impish thoughts. Her health had been in steady decline in recent weeks. She'd been sleeping 20 hours or so per day, eating much less, unable to walk, and was less coherent. In some ways, Frieda's passing is a relief for my parents as well as herself. They were straining to keep her at home and had only recently been considering other arrangements - a decision they agonized over. Their efforts have been admirable.

There are many fond memories of Frieda that I carry with me. She was a kind and intelligent woman with a good sense of humor who enjoyed life a great deal. Most of the memories seems to be bouncing around in my head in a jumble right now. One very happy one that I have is my visit back to Michigan for my brother's wedding. Frieda was still coherent then, the ravages of her illness had not yet shown their signs. Shawn got to meet Frieda during this time. As usual Frieda was polite and carried herself with the Midwestern/Southern dignity she often displayed. She liked Shawn and, after my brother's wedding, even offered to give Shawn the dress that she wore to the ceremony after Shawn commented on how beautiful Frieda looked in it. We drove Frieda from the church to the banquet. I offered to dance with Frieda during the grandparent's turn on the floor, but she wasn't up to it. Instead, I accompanied my other grandmother, Geneva, to the dance floor and was honored to do so.

I was happy that Shawn got to meet both women when they were healthy. They've been important figures in my life. Geneva is still alive and doing fairly well, though her health has taken a downturn as well since the death of her husband, my grandfather, Roger. It will suffice for now to say that Frieda will be missed a great deal. Though I have not lived in Michigan for over a decade and not seen much of her since I left, I find a sadness in myself over another person who was close to me missing from this world.

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