Thanks to all of you who have left sweet messages for my family at Grandma’s passing. The notes, cards and phone calls from family & friends in recent weeks have been very comforting.

Last Saturday Grandma’s funeral was held in Westminster, CA. Last Thursday I flew into John Wayne Airport (I think it’s my favorite airport) and was out there till Monday afternoon. One perk of all my work travel, it was no problem to cash in miles for a first class ticket out there on short notice (& I didn’t even use all my miles). I think the days we spent in California can truly be summed up in “Laughter, Tears & Sunshine.”

On Friday morning, after stopping by Grandma’s neighborhood florist to pick out flowers from Rebecca & me, I pointed our rental car towards the Pacific Coast Highway. In Newport Beach we stopped at their Inspiration Point park to enjoy the beautiful seaside scenery. After the winter we’ve had in Chicago, I think I was close to giddy as we were soaking in the sun & ocean breezes. In addition to the sea, sand and rocks there were beautiful plants including one of my favorites, lantana, and the biggest hen & chicks plant I’ve ever seen.

Newport Scenes

We continued south on PCH towards Laguna Beach – before getting on the plane I had searched for a yarn shop to visit out in SoCal – Strands & Stitches was right on PCH in Laguna Beach. It was a fun shop that was filled not only with beautiful yarns and patterns for knitting but also a room of beautiful needlepoint patterns. While Artisan Dad managed to walk out without any needlepoint acquisitions, I left with several souvenirs.

Grandma’s service was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Mom asked me to deliver the eulogy. My first thought was “can I just read my blog entry?” Several years ago, Rebecca did some oral history with Grandma so between her notes & our collective memories I had a starting point & wondered how to tie it together. I turned to the “Grandma’s Favorite” dishcloth and had one with me as I read my words – among the vignettes of her life were the instructions for the dishcloth:

The dishcloth starts simple – with 4 stitches – a simple beginning that is the foundation for the entire cloth.

As the stitches of the dishcloth increase, so too does the foundation of a life…

To finish a dishcloth, the stitches decrease…

When a dishcloth is finished, you see that each stitch plays an integral part in the whole – without one you would just have a tangle of yarn. So too are the stitches of a life – Grandma was our special lady because of all that she experienced and did in her 94 ½ years. We are all so blessed to have had her in our lives.

While tears were shed that afternoon, there was also a lot of joy and laughter. The neighborhood in Midway City where Mom grew up truly was a close-knit slice of Americana. Several of Mom’s childhood friends were there & recounted memories of their collective care-free childhood days – including Grandma always having a full cookie jar. After the service, we returned to the Friends church next to Grandma’s house where the ladies provided a nice reception & the opportunity for the memories to continue to be shared among all.

Grandma's Service

Other fond memories of the weekend include a delightful evening of dinner & conversation hosted by one of Mom’s cousins…fried chicken & boysenberry pie at Knott’s Berry Farm…attending the church in Pomona where Mom’s childhood friend is rector, followed by an afternoon of “remember when stories” from Mom, Uncle Don & Mary…enjoying an In & Out Burgers lunch in the sunshine before going to the airport (& watching Mom have fun with the french fries & birds)…

In the coming weeks and months I anticipate that we all will continue to encounter a lot of laughter, tears and sunshine as we adjust to life without Grandma…