Dear Grandma,

Early on the third of this month, I got the call that you had passed away from a heart attack on your morning walk.  Even though you were 86, and had lived a good full life, I was surprised by the news.  On our last visit just this summer, you seemed in such good health-- so energetic and bright.  After you left I remember telling Rick that I thought you'd live until 100, and I really did believe that.

I love you Grandma.  I have such great memories of driving the long 12 hour drive to your house in Northern California as a child, and spending time in your large house and yard.  I loved swinging in the big tree swing, driving to get the mail with Grandpa, taking walks all around the rolling hills, and playing Atari games in your basement with my brothers.

I loved the smell of your house.  When we were there for the funeral, it didn't smell like Grandma's house anymore.  While sitting in your living room I thought about all the times I had sat in those comfortable chairs and listened to you talk about politics and religion, and ideas that you were interested in.  Even at an early age I knew that you were an intelligent woman, who loved reading and talking about ideas and the world, and I loved that about you.

I loved playing the organ in your sitting room, and admiring all of the many many paintings you have painted around your house.  I was always amazed by your talent.

At your funeral I loved listening to stories about your childhood and life.  I loved Karen's story about how when you were a little girl, you wanted a doll so badly, but your family couldn't buy one, so you dressed your chicken up like a doll and put it in a carriage, and made do with what you had.  I loved hearing about your frugality and hard work in adulthood-- how through hard work and sincerity, you became a very successful real estate agent in the Santa Clara Valley, and made enough money to build your beautiful home, retire at fifty, and have enough money to travel the world, and live in comfort until the end.

I thought it was so funny that there were at least four pastors at your funeral, and all of them talked about how much they loved you, and how they were your pastor too.  I never realized how many churches you loved visiting, and how you loved learning about so many different religions.

Thank you for being a caring Grandma, who offered me love and encouragement in my choices and life.  I don't think you've ever said a negative thing to me in all my life.  I remember you as happy, hard working, and strong.

During the funeral my Dad was able to give a few thoughts.  He talked about how things at times were really hard in your life and your children's lives, but even when things were their hardest, your love was a constant thing in his life-- a rod that he was able to hold on to, and that it's sustained him through his whole life.  He said that it was a gift that you gave to him.

I was very touched by his words.  I am the most grateful for the love that you gave to my Dad.  I know that it has helped him become the kind of Dad that has made me a better person, and I'm grateful for that.

I love you Grandma, and I will miss you.