Monday, November 29

another life well-lived.


this weekend my family celebrated the life of my mother's grandmother. my last living great-grandmother left this earth has left it. again, it wasn't something unexpected. she had been here for almost a century and left behind a wonderful legacy of love.  

my great-grandmother helen was a remarkable woman. in my mind, she is one of the most gracious, well-mannered and refined persons i have ever known. she was also one of the most adventurous, brave and spirited as well.

we never lived close to my great-grandmother, so when we were young we often wrote letters and made things to send to her. even more, we loved getting letters and cards from her. her farm was a magical place to visit after hearing the legends passed down from my grandmother and mother. she became legendary to us. i remember a few tales of fancy military galas that accompanied two of her beautiful formal handbags for my sister and me. we saw the beautiful treasures from faraway places; we heard of life in japan, in iran -- so exotic and mysterious and full of adventure. we learned to tuck our sheets the way grandma would have when she made the hospital beds. we learned that wearing white after labor day just "wasn't done."

although her memory faded in and out these last few years, she always remembered my little ellie, even when she wasn't quite sure how she fit into the family. 

i will be sure that ellie remembers her and grows to be the kind of person she was. to be like her means being beautiful, smart, graceful, proud, fashionable, strong, compassionate and lovely. she is another person in my life who has set the standard of womanhood and motherhood high. i can never truly express in words the gratitude i have for my extraordinary heritage, especially when there are women like my great-grandmother, helen marie brown stangle.

we love you forever, grandma.

6 comments:

Madalyn said...

She sounds amazing and I'm sorry for your loss!
I love that you say she never forgot Ellie because my Grandmother has forgotten almost everyone in our family but she always remembers Drake Nuccitelli (she says the whole name).

Saimi said...

Aren't grandparents a blessing! My husband's grandma is 95 and still has all her wits about her.

I feel so bless that my children are able to know her. My paternal grandparents have longs since passed, which makes me even more fortunate to have my husbands living so close to us.

Your Great grandmother was a beautiful lady!

Coppersmiths said...

Oh Bradie, you have such a way with words, I cried while reading your post! I never had the opportunity to meet Grandma Helen. I wish I could have made it out to the magical farm, and heard all the stories. The night she passed, we watched the Col. Stangle slideshow. There were some amazing pictures from the many adventures the Stangle family embarked upon! What a special lady she was... I love learning more about her. Thank you for your post!

pefblog said...

Bradie,
She was a great example of all things that are lovely and of good report. You will have her companionship in the eternities. I'm sorry for your loss.
Paula

e louise said...

couldn't have said it better myself. she was such an awesome lady... wish we could've all been there to say good-bye. love ya sis.

kathy said...

A wonderful tribute dear! A wonderful life lived too.
It was good to see family this past holiday as we gathered for the funeral. A celebration of life lived to the ripe age of 98! Helen Brown Stangle has some awesome posterity!
love ya!