Bologna sandwiches on white bread, pickles, candy dishes always filled with m&ms or Werther’s candies, cold iced tea and cans of root bear, searching for strawberries in the barrel planters on the bricked front yard patio, nautical theme decorations everywhere, ocean breezes blowing an American flag, the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival, feeding the ducks torn up pieces of bread at Balboa Island – these are the scented colorful flavorful memories of my Granny who passed away at home yesterday evening.
She was born in California, married her high school sweetheart and lived visibly in love with him the rest of her life. She never wore dresses, opting for shorts or pant suits always. She loved to travel, the beach and her kitchen window ocean view of the Laguna coastline.
We didn’t always agree on certain things, but as I got older and became a mother I saw more wisdom in some of the advice I had previously ignored. She gave me my first surfboard (against my mom’s wishes) and also my first wetsuit. She came to a few of my surf contests, even cheering for me from a cold windy beach in England. She paraded me around town, “showing me off” to all her friends and complete strangers when I visited her wearing a dress i’d made myself as a 14 year old.
We weren’t super close. I didn’t talk to her daily, weekly, or even monthly. But I usually saw her at least once per trip to California over the last few years. She had been sick for a while – diabetes, heart disease. After her first heart attack she refused to subject herself to some of the recommended treatments. The doctors gave her anywhere from a few months to a few years and she was fine with that. She was stubborn. She hated hospitals.
We spent an afternoon with her just a month ago, sharing take-out Chinese food from one of her favorite restaurants, on her back patio in the sun. She seemed vibrant, healthy, and full of her usual sense of humor. She filled Luna full of olives and iced tea. She ran her fingers through Luna’s hair and said, “isn’t she cute, but Holly, where are her curls?” I was happy that Luna had a chance to meet her great grandmother.
I have so much respect for the way she lived and died on her own terms. She will be missed.