Sunday, November 18, 2007
Remembering the Mountain Lady
Yesterday was a day of fun with my family, but it was also a day of remembrance for me. On November 17, 2002, just two days after Aidan's birth, my paternal grandmother, Eleanor, passed away. I found out about her passing the day I left the hospital and brought my son home. I called my aunt to tell her of Aidan's birth and planned on calling my grandmother next if she wasn't at my aunt's having Sunday dinner. It broke my heart to hear that I was too late, my beloved grandmother had just died. I knew that her health hadn't been very good, but it still came as a shock. I had always hoped that I'd get out to visit her one more time.
I grew up with a wonderful close relationship with my Grandma El, whom the grandkids called the Mountain Lady. She lived in a golden ochre colored chalet in Allenspark Colorado, with a nice patch of mountains surrounding her home. I spent as much time as I could every summer there, hiking, talking, reading, growing and learning about myself, my family and my values in life. The Mountain Lady was a tough broad, as some liked to say. She wasn't the needlepoint, cookie baking grandma with photos of grandkids on the wall. She was the woman who created her own strength, encouraged independence, read National Geographic, Time and Newsweek, believed in enjoying all things in moderation. She loved to travel and felt it was the most important education a person could give themselves. She was a devote Catholic and had met the pope. She loved art, was an artist herself, and a tough critic.
So much of who I am and what I believe in came through my time with her. I dreamed of the days my children could spend with us in the chalet. How I would walk with them to the Mountain Lady's private picnic spot and cook hot dogs over the coals. I wanted to see her see me as a mother. I wanted her to be proud of my children, like she was proud of me.
It's been five years, and I still think of her every week, several times a week. Whether its while cooking a dish she taught me to make, reading a book I think she'd like, putting away dishes in the china cabinet she left to me, or seeing a beautiful sight in nature. I do feel her still in my life. Love does last forever.
I miss you Mountain Lady, but I know you are with me and in peace.