Posted by: Karen | March 27, 2005


My Grandmas have a very special place in my life. They have been a source of love and inspiration, and a grounding factor in my life. I have, on difficult days, thought of their perseverance and struggles, and used my images of them for my own inner fortitude.
Grandma L. last summer
Friday night, Good Friday, I received a call from my father that his mom, my Grandma Likness had just passed away. She was 88; 50 years and 30 days older than me. Grandma L. was a woman of strong Christian faith. I learned a lot from the way she lived her life, loved her family, and served God. She had been slipping away from us very slowly over the last 5 years or so. Sometimes I referred to her affectionately as the Incredible Shrinking Grandma, as injuries, the weakness of age, and disorientation took its toll on her body, emotions, and mind.

We had a close bond and I am truly thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to be with her and share my family with her. I will miss her, but balance that thought with the relief that she is in a far better place now, with no pain, and with Grandpa.

Saturday I went out to run hills with Grandma L. on my mind. I did not think of her the whole time, but images of her wandered through my thoughts. As I plunged downwards to the bottom of the hill, I thought of how she might look in her casket, how sad I am that I miss her, and how I will try to handle my emotions at the funeral. On the way back up I thought of the hymn my cousins and I will sing at her service, and how I will have to say something on behalf of the grandchildren.

The remembrance of my terror of public speaking totally took away any sensation of cresting the hill and I barely realized I had climbed it. Suddenly hill running seemed much easier than the week I have ahead of me!

I consoled myself with the memories we’ve made together over the years. Making cake donuts or lefse together, doing the dishes after a meal of meatballs and gravy, when I snuggled up to her in her hospital bed last winter and made her tell me about how Grandpa courted her before they were married, and what my dad was like as a little boy. I thought of how my daughter has told me she is sad, and feels bad about Grandma L., and how I’ve told her it’s okay to feel that way, because that means my daughter has loved her so much.

I hardly noticed the second hill. I’m not saying the running was easy, but I was quite distracted from the physical world for awhile. My hamstrings and calves were glad to get home and stretch, but it was a good ache, a reminder of how alive I am, and how grateful I am to be so.



  1. Keep her memories close and she will always be with you.

  2. I am so sorry about your loss. She sounds like a special woman.

  3. So sorry about your loss, Karen. She sounds like she was a wonderful woman and I’m glad you have so many happy memories of her.

  4. what a great tribute post, k. it’s great to hear that you and your grandmother were able to share so many awesome memories together.


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