Friday, January 25, 2013


Our family's last grandma passed away last night. Actually she has been freed from endless, shapeless days that she spent in her nursing home. She is free now to wander Heaven's gardens, and I am sure that she will be looking over our shoulders come spring as we begin to plant our garden.

Violet, my husband's mom, was 82. She had spent the greater portion of her life on the farm first owned by her parents and then she and her husband took over the 80 acres where they farmed and milked cows until the early 1980s when they decided to sell the farm land and eventually went their separate ways.

Violet had had small part time jobs. She wrapped Christmas packages during the holidays at the local western wear store, The Stockman, in Greeley, and she worked in a small sandwich shop later. When she found herself alone and needing to support herself, she went to work at MacDonald's as the hostess keeping the dinning area clean. Violet was a hard worker, a perfectionist, and took pride in keeping her Mac's Lounge clean. She made friends easily, was cheerful and pleasant, and made the customers feel appreciated. She also did volunteer work at the Goodwill so that she could qualify for food commodities. She lived with us while she worked at Mac Donald's trying to get on her feet, trying to find her place as a woman alone. She came home one day from her shift at MacDonald's and posed a question: Should she quit MacDonald's and go to work at Goodwill where she would make less per hour, but she would have benefits? We liked the idea of benefits. Thus began her eleven years working at Goodwill where she made friends, served customers, and kept the shelves neatly stocked.

As an only child and then a wife, she had never been on her own. Now with a good job, she was able to rent her own apartment, buy her own car, and have a good life.

She loved to garden, so she kept her little garden on her second floor apartment balcony. She grew gorgeous geraniums and beautiful petunias and healthy cherry tomatoes.

To make extra money, Violet sewed and took her goods to craft shows. She would spend hours upon hours hunched over her sewing machine stitching aprons and children's cloth books, both of which were printed on fabric and sold on the bolt. But her pride was her kitchen hand towels that she cut in half and sewed tops to the half towel so that the towel could be snapped to a drawer handle. Over the 20 some odd years, she made thousands of items and traveled to hundreds of craft shows.

Violet was stubborn for sure, but that quality made her strong and helped her endure the hard times in her life. She was always there for her friends ready to help them out.  But the last two and a half years were really just a long, slow decline for her. While her body remained fairly strong for so long, her mind just faded away. It was just very sad to watch her wither away, but even in the nursing home she made people laugh.

The oldest of her ten great grandchildren will have good memories of their great grandma Violet. They were lucky to have a great grandma for so many years. My grandma died when I was 12, and I have missed her all of my life. I never knew my other grandma and met my great grandma Riggle when I was about 4. But these grandchildren will have many memories to cherish.

Despite the sadness that we feel, we do understand life's passages. We can now rest easy knowing that Violet is not alone anymore, not living in an odd place among strangers. She spent her thoughts lost in probably the best years of her life, her teen years. She would tell us that as soon as she got her driver's license she could leave that place she called school.  She would complain that her clothes were too old. It took us awhile to realize that she didn't recognize her own outfits because they were clothes for an old woman, not clothes for her, not for a teen-ager.

Tonight, dear Violet rests.

Thank you for letting me honor Violet here in our virtual garden.


  1. So sad but a beautiful tribute to Violet. X

  2. What a wonderful woman. You will have very precious memories of her.

  3. A wonderful eulogy for Violet. May she rest in peace. Jackie.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss, and thank you so much for sharing Violets story.

  5. I enjoyed reading about Violet, she sounds like she had a good life and I'm sure you will all miss her.

  6. She sounds like such a strong woman, and a great role model. Thanks for sharing her memory with us.


  7. Ann, I am so sorry for your loss, but how wonderful was the story you gave us of Violet, of her strength and love of life. A very special post and tribute.

  8. You made a beautiful tribute for Violet in our virtual garden, Ann. It is sad but I can imagine you have lots of wonderful memories of this busy, strong woman.

  9. A moving tribute, may Violet rest in peace.

  10. I'm sorry, Ann.
    I'm glad Violet's in heaven.

  11. My grandma. My grandma. I miss her four handed diaper changes. I miss her craft shows. I miss her playing Nintendo with me. I miss her playing hide and go seek with Jacob and fussing over Nathan if he was warm enough. My grandma. I miss her tapioca and morning breakfasts. Thank you mom for sharing grandma with your blogging friends. I kiss her telling dad how to weed and garden. My grandma. Whose memory failed her and she didn't know who we were. My grandma.

  12. Ann, So sorry for the loss of your MIL. Thank you for sharing this amazing woman with us. I hope your family is doing well.