Monday, August 31, 2009

Her favorite singer was John Denver.

Last weekend, my family gathered for the funeral of my grandma.

She was the perfect grandmother. And we didn't make it easy on her, living 2000 miles away. She sent big boxes of wrapped gifts to stack under the Christmas tree. She packed tins of homemade cookies, candy, and green and pink popcorn balls and sent those cross-country as well. She sent homemade Christmas ornaments: small felt snowmen and Christmas trees, candy canes, and stockings, with our little photographed heads sticking out of the tops. She wrote letters.

When we visited for two heavenly, easy-going weeks each summer, she left packages of grape Bubble-Yum on our pillows and we watched her knuckles as she peeled onions for spaghetti sauce. In the wee hours of the morning, she brewed coffee. I still stop in the supermarket aisle and press my finger tips into the left-behind coffee grinds so I can enjoy that smell.

She poured cups of orange juice "to wake up with" and she held us in her lap outside in the cool, shadowed morning. She planted marigolds and impatiens and ivy climbed the mailbox post at every house she ever owned. She snuck cookies into our beds and told us night-time stories of little ones with shiny new cars and their adventures. "And they rode and they rode and they rode and they rode." My cousins heard the same stories. She loved us all. We each thought we were her favorite. I still think it. And so does Patrick, I'm sure.

And about Patrick. My cousin. I haven't seen him for about 7 years. That delightful guy chauffeured me around Williamsburg this past weekend. He never complained once about the baby in the backseat wailing, or the return trip to the motel to retrieve something I already had, or the fact that carseat installment became his duty. He works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Yes, that is COOL. And Pete really liked him. One night my brother, Patrick, and I walked through Colonial Williamsburg together, and I was dumbfounded by how similar we all were.

I'm really glad that I could go. Thank you, Brandon, for sending me. All three of my brothers were there. And my cousin Emily. It meant a lot me to see her. I didn't grow up around my Petersen/Ellis cousins, so this weekend was really special for us to spend some time together.

Emily and Pete.


Dave & Chels said...

Carrie, you write so eloquently that I am in awe. That was really a beautiful post. I'm glad you discovered my blog! Even though we live right around the corner from you guys, it's still fun to read blogs. Sorry about the reason you had to go on your trip, but I'm glad you had a good time.

Rebecca said...

Carrie, I'm so sorry about your grandma. I know you were really close and that she meant a lot to you. I'm glad you were able to go to the funeral.

jamesrivergirl said...

Thank you, Becky, for your kindness. I needed that.

Spencer and Shreann said...

Carrie, I'm so sorry about your grandma. I know you will miss her. We will keep you in our prayers.