Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Grandma England

Dan's grandmother in England died last night. We knew it was coming, since she had been ill for some time, but it's never easy. The distance makes it especially difficult. Dan's dad was fortunate to be there with his family during her last days, but Dan is now separated by states and an ocean from the rest of his family just when it would be so good to be together. We're taking comfort in photos and memories.

She was a wonderful woman who will be greatly missed. We had the good fortune to visit her in England two years ago and have many fond memories from that trip. She lived in the Lake District which is an incredibly beautiful part of will be impossible to not think of her when we see photos of the fells and the lakes of the area.

Grandma England, as Dan's family so lovingly called her, was married to the original Jackson - for whom our son is named. (Not Dan's biological grandfather, but grandfather all the same.) I didn't get to meet Grandfather Jackson before he died, but have heard many wonderful stories of him and of his life with Grandma.

There are many wonderful things about Grandma England that I can recall right now - the smell of her house (flowers and tea), the taste of her homemade orange marmalade, the sound of her voice - but my most favorite little thing that sticks in my head was how she always asked "Have you had sufficient?" after meals and tea times together. A true grandmother, she was always looking out for each chick in her brood.

Dear Grandma England: May you be in peace now, free of pain now, and happy now. You are already dearly missed.


[Four generations of Dan's Family]

[We are so pleased that Grandma was able to meet "Baby Jackson" at Rob + Maria's wedding in August 2006.]

[Here's when I first met her, when she traveled to our wedding in June 2004.]

[And how could I resist? Grandma England was a Knitter and she knit this sweater (plus others) for Jackson when he was born (3-weeks old in this photo). They will be treasured items to save and pass on.]

[I will also always remember knitting together with her in her living room. We had different styles of knitting and she didn't quite understand mine. She would scrunch up her face, look at my hands and say "I have no idea what your hands are doing but you're knitting a fine piece of work all the same." She also gave some knitting lessons to Maria who was working on baby booties for Jackson on that visit. Those were really special times together.]


kim said...

I am so sorry for your families loss.

dan (aka dad and grandson) said...

These are a few of the memories I'm going to cherish most from the few visits to Grandma my family made across the Big Pond.

Lilliput Lane: Grandma had a sort-of collection of these stone/plaster houses and they were positioned strategically throughout her garden. And her garden was BEAUTIFUL! Picture plentiful English rains; close-cropped lawns; bountiful greenhouses with tomatoes, peas, you name it, and the requisite cows and sheep making noise from across the stone wall.

The Coal Shed: Across the door into Grandma's kitchen was a door to the working shed where my grandma used to do laundry and my grandpa some of his indoor-friendly projects. Wind your way back past the laundry machinery and the plant-potting area and you came to the spot where they stored their coal. Even years later I can hear the sound of the sliding door to get in there. And the familiar and comforting smell of the shed is something I'll never forget.

Scones, Fresh Milk, Rock Buns, Angel's Delight. I was only able to share one of these four bona-fide Grandma Winners with Catherine when we visited. Grandma knew what she was up to in the kitchen. And she knew how to keep full the stomachs of her teenaged grandsons out hiking on the fells for the day.

"Caww." I come from a family of jokers. But my Grandma wasn't really one of them so my dad must have gotten it from his dad. Anyway any time after I'd made a joke or, quite frankly, been a little sassy to my parents in front of Grandma she'd make this noise of disbelief.

"He's Only fifTEEN." My parents packed me off to live with my English relatives one summer during high school. My closest cousin is only 6 months older than I and we have a lot in common. After being pen-pals with one another throughout elementary school and junior high it was great to live with him that summer. We stayed at his house, at Grandma's, and at Bennett Head Farm and had all kinds of adventures and sometimes misadventures too. At any rate, we came THIS close to convincing my aunt and great aunt to let us go to this club for teens--I think it was called "Blues." But then my Grandma found out. The quote was her response to the family. My cousin Matthew and I found something else to keep us busy instead of the club.

Grandma, you'll be missed but certainly not forgotten.


Anonymous said...

Dan and Catherine,
So sorry to hear this news. I only met her once, but feel honored to have had that opportunity. She sounded like an amazing woman! I know you will take comfort in the memories...
Love, Mis

Chris said...

I'm sorry to hear about Grandma England - it sounds like she was a fabulous person. My thoughts are with your family.

Knittymama said...

So sorry about the loss of such a wonderful individual. It's so hard to say goodbye to a loved one, even when that loved one is ready to go.


GardenGoose said...

so very sorry to hear of your loss. hugs to you and your family.

Heide said...

I am so very sorry for all of you to lose such a wonderful member of your family. Grandma England sounds enchanting.

Ruth's Place said...

Thinking of you both. I know how hard it is to lose someone when you are far away. She sounds like an amazing woman.

Rob & Maria said...

Dan and Catherine, beautiful reading through your blog and memories of Grandma England. Love you guys!

Beth said...

So sorry for your loss and So sorry for the distance of family during this time. "Blessed are those who morn, for they will be comforted". Matthew 5:4
May memories be your comfort during this difficult time.
Love you all! Aunt Beth

poppet said...

Hi Dan & Catherine
My name is Marion, cousin of David and Christine, daughter of Frank who was Auntie Enid's (Grandma England) oldest brother. I was at the funeral today at Newton Reigny and there were so many people there, all with a special reason to miss her. It was a wonderful occasion. I am now 63 and although I could only see her now and again, Auntie Enid never once forgot my birthday or a card at Christmas - always with a letter of catching up and always with questions about me, my children, my mother. You see everyone was important to her in a special way. I will never forget her kindness to me. Much love to all your family at this sad time.