Monday, January 25, 2010

Sad News and Celebration of a Life

We got some sad news on Saturday. The Hubs' Grandmother passed away Saturday morning.

It wasn't unexpected. She was 95 years old and had Alzheimer's. She'd been on a downward slide for several years, but it still a difficult thing for us. Apparently she had a fall at home (where she still lived by herself - she had carers who came by everyday and The Hubs' Mum drove down to visit several times a week) on Friday and was taken to the hospital. She was stable Friday night, but had a massive heart attack Saturday morning.

The Hubs and I were up getting ready to go out of town for the day when his Mum texted him to call her ASAP. I told him to be prepared because I felt like his Gran had probably passed away.

After he spoke to his Mum, we had to decide whether to continue with our out-of-town plans or to stay at home. The Hubs decided there was really nothing we could do at home and that he felt his Gran would want us to go ahead with our plans, so that's what we did.

We went to Valdosta, GA for the day where neither of us had been before. The Hubs commented repeatedly throughout the day how much Valdosta reminded him of Sheffield, England. Valdosta was an old mill town and, even though its much more of a built up city now with the university there, the city has still managed to preserve some of its history, so The Hubs was able to see the chimneys from the mill and the water tower. The cityscape was very much like that of Sheffield with its water towers and chimneys left over from its days of being a huge mining town.

At one point, we got mislaid (to use The Hubs words - we weren't lost, just mislaid) while trying to locate the renovated mill and, in the process of retracing our steps, I happened to notice something interested set on the main road, but back from the road, so had I not been looking right at it, I never would have seen it. It was the Queen Victoria British Pub! Since The Hubs had been reminiscing all day and we were both feeling a deep loss for his Gran, I pointed it out to him and suggested we have dinner there. He readily agreed, so several hours later, we made our way back to the place.

When we walked in, it was like stepping back into England! The pub had proper English beers (although we didn't partake - The Hubs was driving and I don't really drink beer)! There was proper English food! There was proper English tea! And - in a rare moment of authentic recreation - there were proper English flags (not the Union Jack British flag, but real English flags)!

It was an astonishing and welcomed experience.

We ordered a Sprite for me and a Dr. Pepper for The Hubs and we then toasted his Gran. She loved pub meals. We always took her out to eat at a pub when we went to visit her. The Hubs ordered bangers and mash with seasonal veggies for his meal. I had Steak Diane (NY strip steak sauteed in Worcestershire sauce, sherry, shallots and mushrooms), mash and seasonal veggies. We finished off our meal with cheesecake (white chocolate raspberry for The Hubs and Chocolate Turtle for me) and a pot of hot tea.

We met and had a conversation with the owner of the pub who is also the chef. He's a Londoner and the former Executive Chef to the White House during President Ronald Reagan's time in office.

It was a wonderful evening and a most fitting tribute to The Hubs' Gran.

When we got back in the car to travel home, they were playing a Beatles' song on the radio, followed by a Wings' song. That's when we really knew. Gran had led us there. She had given us a chance to grieve for her and to celebrate her. There's no way we would have found the pub had we not gotten lost. She led us to it. Then, she wanted to make sure we knew it was her, so she had the Beatles and Wings playing for us. She was that kind of woman. She knew finances would not allow us to go to England for her funeral, so she gave us a celebration of her own.

So right now, wherever you are, please do me a favor and raise a glass in toast to a woman who meant so much to her family and friends. She's the last of her generation of friends and family, having outlived her husband and son, her best friend and all her siblings.

To Mary!


Suzy said...

When my hubbys grandfather died, we had planned to go out to dinner that night. We still went and Ike had a huge steak in his Grandfather's honor. They loved to eat steak together.

So sorry for your loss. xoxo

Kelli said...

Condolences, Lynn & DH...I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.

It sounds as though you were able to celebrate Mary's life just as she would have wanted...bittersweet, isn't it? I know that there might be sad things that catch you off guard but remember the fun you all had in her memory on Saturday.

To Mary! :)

AKD said...

Thinking of you both - I hope this is a time of remembrance and peace for you, as the days go on. It sounds like you honored her memory in every way possible. Hugs!

Low Fat Lady said...

I'm sorry for your hubby's loss. I will send some happy vibes to you and your family.

Wishing 4 One said...

Thinking of Mary right now, holding up my cup of espresso to her. My Grams name was Mary, she left us in 2000. If we ever get our daughter her name will be Maryam. Happy ICLW and I am a new follower.

thecalmafterthestorm said...

I am sorry for your loss. What a wonderful way to remember her, you guys finding the pub actually gave me goosebumps.

Busted Kate said...

Hello there. I'm so sorry to hear about your hubby's grandmother, at least it seems as though she had a good, long life and was surrounded by those who love her.

I've enjoyed reading your book list for the year. I'm also a huge Twilight fan (and about to turn 30), and am currently reading Eat, Pray, Love. Looks like we have a lot in common!

Came for ICLW Week, but am following now and looking forward to getting to know you.

Kristin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Even when it is expected, it isn't easy.

She definitely did send y'all there. It sounds like the trip was a wonderful way to remember her.

Ms B. Thrift said...

Lynn I am so terribly sorry for you both I know how much Grandma meant to the family and i know it must feel difficult not to be able to return for the funeral, but i have to agree what a fitting celebration of life, it got me choked up!

Rachel said...

I'm so sorry for your loss but I'm very thankful you had this special evening to celebrate her life! May you continue to have peace...

jill said...

Sorry to hear about your husband's grandmother :(
My husband lost his last May (she was just about the same age) and it was tough. The little pub sounds like a wonderful way to remember her! I am raising a toast to her right now.

Lily said...

sorry to hear about your loss, but I think it was so beautiful that you and hubby got to spend the day like that in her honor, and with her ;)
ICLW hugs!

cowgirltn said...

Prayers for you family and may grandma be resting in peace.

Alana said...

SO sorry for your loss. Sending love and prayers for you, DH, and his special Gran. And I love the sentiment---the amazing ways you felt connected to Gran as you celebrated her life during the weekend. Hugs!

Shannon said...

Sorry for your loss. It is amazing how people's spirits can lead us to the place we need to be at the exact time we need to be there, isn't it?

Shannon - January ICLW

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