My husband’s grandmother Vera passed away this morning peacefully at the age of 91. She was ready to see her husband Dave, who had passed away ten years ago on the day of their 60th wedding anniversary. So she joins him on Valentines Day. Kind of a bittersweet romance.
Vera was a hoot. You can imagine all the stories she had to share with living almost an entire century. Having lived through the depression & losing the house that was their wedding gift from her father had shaped the rest of her life. Vera never wore new shoes. She shopped exclusively at Goodwill and garage sales even though in recent decades they were very well off. You would never know as they lived a very modest life. And were loved by all. For years they had a ranch (which is now a suburban housing development) and there were many “barely escaping death” stories of my husband & his brothers growing up there. Stories that make you gasp & grab your heart to listen to, but experiences that filled rich lives & created amazing childhood memories.
Even after they sold the ranch & settled into a modest home for retirement, Vera maintained the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen. And she was an amazing artist. Her backyard looked like a stage for Better Homes & Gardens. It was such a happy place. So you better believe I asked her for gardening advice!
One thing that Vera loved was margaritas. She wasn’t a big drinker at all, but she LOVED her margaritas. Just over a week ago as she was very weak but could still slowly carry on a conversation, she told us how much she enjoyed margaritas. And chocolate ice cream. At that point she was refusing food, but I brought her a pint of chocolate ice cream on a whim, hoping it would encourage her to take a few bites. Much to our delight (and hers!) she was smiling the entire time I fed her & she ate half the pint in one sitting! We had a great conversation & she suddenly had a spark of energy & happiness to her. It was wonderful to see her in her final days & still be able to enjoy one of her favorite things.
Regretfully, I never did bring her that margarita, so in Vera’s honor we’ll toast her life with a pitcher of strawberry margaritas tonight to go with some chocolate ice cream!
If I live to be 91, I hope to pass peacefully in my sleep dreaming of ice cream & tasty libations & surrounded by my loved ones.