Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In Memory of My Beautiful Grandmother

My Grandmother passed away this morning at 8:30 AM central time. My mom was sitting by her side as Grandma let herself flow to another land, off to reconnect with the love of her life (Grandpa Stoakes) who passed away nearly 30 years ago.

Charlotte Stoakes, who would be 94 this August, lived a rich life. Like most things of quality and substance and style, she was paradoxically complex and simple at the same time. Born and raised in the center of Iowa, Grandma was a farmer, a homemaker, and best of all a Great Mother and Grandmother. As a farmer she dedicated her life to producing more than she used. As a homemaker, she baked fresh apple pie, tended to her geese and chickens, and sewed quilts for me and my brothers. As a mother and grandmother, she taught by example and shared her love and smiles and hugs to all around.

I have no way to prove it, and it doesn't really matter, except that it represents her character well, but it is very likely that Grandma never uttered a single swear word in her 93 years. There was no need - even when times got tough. Grandma was all about Gee Whiz, and For Heaven’s Sake. She was good to the core.

No stranger to adversity and challenge (like many from the “Greatest Generation”) she lived through many tough times: the depression, World War 1 and 2, Vietnam, and The Gulf War, etc. And back at home, deep in rural America, she even let a pack of fun-loving hippies (my mother being at the center of the group) create the Sunshine Farm on her land which should tell you something about her depth of tolerance, stamina, and experience.

My Grandma memories are endless. But mostly they all tell the same story: she was a good woman who sparkled with soul. To me, Grandma represents all that is good about America, about people, and about family. She was about honest hard work, the golden rule, the land, her community and her family. Simply put she was a giver, a faucet, a warm breathe of fresh air in any room.

The photo above is representative of her - always interested and eager to help, always smiling, always there, always glowing. Here you see her proudly watching mom make her Holiday Gravy recipe at my parents Oxford farm in 2001. Thankfully we will have her wonderful recipes and memories to share forever.

We miss you Grandma and thank you for all of the joy and life you have shared over the years.
Copyright Unity

1 comment:

ajdisco said...

That was a very moving tribute; I'm sure your grandma would be proud. Having had a mother who passed away recently, your news made me pause to reflect. I feel that we're very fortunate to have had amazing, giving, strong and beautiful women in our lives. They give birth to us; they teach us; they love us unconditionally; they say goodbye to us when we grow up. The best we can do is to pass on that goodwill to the next generation, keeping them in our memories as we do...