One of my heroes is gone. On Saturday evening, my grandmother, Vivian Burch Holmes, passed away at the age of 97.
My grandma was my hero because she was so full of life, interested in living and in other people right up until the end. Until recently, she went to hospitals and nursing homes to visit and play bingo with the “old people.” She lived independently until November, when the effects of a small stroke made it too hard for her to climb the stairs to her basement-level apartment. I know she found it very difficult to move to an assisted living facility near my aunt, leaving her friends, her church and her independence behind.
I didn’t know my grandma as well as I would have liked. For all of my growing up years, I lived in
and she lived in Virginia. I
visited her a time or two, and she came out to California
a couple times as well, notably for my high school graduation. She wrote to me
regularly, even up until a few weeks before her death. I’m so glad I wrote back
and she was able to hear and understand my letter before she died. I always
thought of her as Grandma Burch, even when she remarried after my grandfather
died. (Her second husband passed away some years ago.)
|Happy Birthday, Grandma!|
Even with our sporadic contact, I have many happy memories of Grandma. She tried to teach me how to crochet (I never advanced beyond one long string of yarn) and she did teach me how to do candlewicking. One of my favorite memories is of the time she came to visit us in
and my dad and stepmom came from California,
when Nick was about 3. It was near Grandma’s birthday, so every time we went
out to eat, we told the servers it was her birthday, and they came and sang to
her. The best time was at a Mexican restaurant where they made her wear a giant
sombrero while they serenaded her. You can see by her big smile she’s enjoying
the experience! Other memories of that visit include a trip to Disney World,
and a looong toy guitar “concert” given by Nick out on our lanai which everyone
endured more or less patiently.
|Four generations: Nick, Grandma, me, my dad.|