Well...this Thanksgiving didn't go exactly as planned. Tuesday morning, as I was beginning to pack and send the kids to school, Mom called to tell us that Grandma Luzny had gone Home. After years of suffering with dementia, she passed very peacefully and quietly, although unexpectedly, in her sleep. After the shock, we packed a little quicker and headed North. We are so incredibly grateful for a peaceful passing just as the whole family was already headed into town.
Wednesday was spent gathering the family together, looking at pictures and telling stories. One thing I will say for my family is we rally. Mom's house was filled with family, and thankfully laughter and warmth. We played cards in her honor, pointing out when she would have been proud of when she would have told us we were playing it too safe. The kids played in the snow, and we all knew she would have loved watching--and was watching. (I will always remember her building little snow people--and occasionally saving them in the freezer.) We were together, just as she would have wanted. While we are all so incredibly sad to not hear her voice any more, we are so incredibly grateful her struggle is over and we could all celebrate her life together. A few extra relatives filled the Thanksgiving table, and we saw more old friends at the visitation and funeral.
I am also so, so grateful that Issa and Evan were able to celebrate her with us. They have so many clear memories of her, and they loved looking at old pictures and hearing more stories. One of my favorite moments was Evan announcing he would wear Christmas socks to the funeral because Grandma always wore Christmas sweaters.
I will admit today is hard. Returning to "normal" when I'm feeling far from normal just feels so wrong. So, to honor Grandma and in the spirit of continuing the celebration, I am beginning my day with a list of the top ten things I learned from Ann Luzny:
10. When playing cards (Bridge, Euchre, you name it), always count on your partner for one and when in doubt pick it up. There is no sense playing it safe. If you ended up taking all the tricks and hadn't called "alone alone" you would hear about it.
9. Hot glue fixes just about everything--and it is, in fact, hot.
8. Always wear appropriate, matching undergarments. Preferably pretty ones. No one else will know, but you will--and it matters.
7. You are never too old to use nail polish to paint acorns. Hot pink really does look best.
6. Take a moment to enjoy God's creation. A gorgeous rose. A sunset. The trees. You always have a moment and time for a quick walk about the yard.
5. The holidays are meant to be celebrated in a big way. Decorate. Eat. Sing with great joy and gusto. Christmas was her favorite, and it's all her fault Christmas is about to explode in my house. If one strand of lights is enough, let's go with two.
4. Always tell the truth. Always. Even if it's not what someone wants to hear, they will eventually appreciate it, and you will be able to sleep at night.
3. On a related note, don't be afraid of a good confrontation. If you see something you think shouldn't be, speak up--and then be willing to be a part of the solution. She lived this model, and it was fabulous unless you were the one on the "shouldn't be" end.
2. Family first. Period. Always. We can be mad as hell at you, but everyone else better leave you alone.
1. Above all, do everything you do with great love. She loved fiercely, and everyone knew it. She lived it every day in all of the small ways. We felt it. I still do, and I always will.