Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Celebrate & Cherish Children Of All Ages

Amidst a week of party tips, this one hits close to home: Celebrate & Cherish Children of All Ages

A couple weeks ago, Ryan and I flew back to my home state of California, for a beach weekend in Santa Cruz. There was a greater purpose for this celebration: to celebrate the very important, precious life of my grandmother. She wanted to gather the family by the beach and watch the dolphins (which we did, and they were spectacular).

What made this trip particularly "bittersweet", was the fact that it was not only a gathering to celebrate, but also to say goodbye. Just 8 short weeks ago my grandmother was leading a swim class and singing in the choir she adores (she has a lovely voice, I consider her to sing as beautifully as her favorite star, Judy Garland--I think she looks a bit like her, too). Then, she was shockingly diagnosed with a devestating terminal illness, given little time to live.

My stylish grandmother is quite the social butterfly, and has unbelievable talent when it comes to baking, entertaining, decorating, painting, crocheting, sewing...she made my sister Julia & I beautiful dresses, and giant Raggedy Ann Dolls. She and I recently discussed how much we love to watch Martha Stewart, and enjoy her cook books.

Filled with the sweetest memories of holidays spent with her and my grandfather, it was difficult to imagine how I would go about my life without her in it--but far more difficult to imagine how my grandfather, father and uncle will go about living without her. She is such an important part of all our lives. She and I have always had a special bond, ever since I was little. Celebrating the happiest day of my life (my wedding day) together with her, literally had us both glowing.

(wedding photos property of Miki & Sonja Photography--two of the most BRILLIANT wedding photographers you will ever come across).

I consider it the greatest compliment when I am told that I look like her. She is so very beautiful in my eyes, inside and out.

Over 62 years have passed since she and my precious grandfather were married, and they still look like such the suave couple.

It is so very, very important to celebrate the lives of those around us, and this particular weekend when we gathered it reminded me of the importance to celebrate the lives of children of all ages.

It coincidentally was on my grandmother's 81st birthday (she ended up back in the hospital within hours of arrival to the beach house, therefore she couldn't enjoy the weekend we all dreamed of--so we all gathered near her by her bedside instead), that I was given the blessed opportunity to hold her in my arms one last time, to embrace her, talk with her, learn from her, listen to her, and tell her how much I love her.

My grandfather, who I haven't mentioned much in this post, is actually the inspiration for all of this--he wrote the greatest birthday wish, ever.

His love, tenderness, care and strongest love for my grandmother, was what brought us all to tears. He never left her bedside, read the Bible to her for comfort, and had unbelievable strength. This is the marriage partnership we all dream of. And I am a romantic through and through, and boy, apparently my grandfather is too:

My grandmother is resting at home in the loving care of my grandfather, with much love and support from my uncle, aunt, my father and mother, with the help of hospice now too.

She did make a special request: to see the dolphins. We all saw them when she was taken to the hospital. My uncle, aunt and grandfather are going to do whatever it takes to make that dream a reality. She raised her family in a small California town called "Tranquility", and I snapped a shot of the sign on the side of their house, which I found fitting for my wishes for her now. I hope she experiences tranquility when she sees the dolphins. She said, in her hospital bed, she considers them "lucky."

While my grandmother doesn't have a computer and won't see this post, I will call her tomorrow, tell her I love her, and thank her for her love, courage, strength, grace, and the greatest gift she blessed me with--the gift of life.

And that, is something to celebrate.--Kate


Kendra@My Insanity said...

What a beautiful, sweet tribute! Prayers and best wishes for your family at this time. She seems like such a classy lady and it's clear her legacy has been passed on to you.

Tori said...

Kate, this post is so so touching. I love the tribute you have given here to both your grandmother and your grandfather. What an inspirational couple. My grandfather passed away last week and this is all too touching. Thank you for sharing this post.

wifey singer said...

Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your darling grands with us! Delighted and encouraged. <3

Lydia @ VintageBeauty said...

Oh, wow what a lovely post. Looks like your Grandmother has had quite a life. What a blessing to be married so many years! Thank you for sharing honey!

April411 said...

I am new to your blog, however, your tribute to your grandmother was beautiful. We can only hope for people like that in our lives. You are truly fortunate to have had her for such a big part of your life. My grandmother, who was just as much an inspiration, passed away when I was only 4. Although I only had four short years with her, her impact was great. I can only imagine the sadness in your heart. However, remember the happy times and that she was a part of your life for so long. God bless her in her final journey and to your family in dealing with the heartbreak of losing such a lovely woman.

All my best,

Preppy Mama said...

Kate, what a beautiful tribute to your amazing grandparents. You have me in tears. They must be so incredibly proud of you. Blessings.

Lindsey {Bella Grace Party Designs} said...

My in tears after reading that... what a touching story! You are so very lucky to have such amazing people in your life. Thank you for sharing that.

Pam @ PartyStart.Me said...

Oh Kate you brought on the tears! Such a beautiful tribute and oh so very touching.I am sending positive thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Danielle @ Belleza e Luce said...

What a beautiful and caring tribute! It is wonderful that your grandmother and grandfather are every bit as in love today as they were 62+ years ago! My prayers are with your family and I hope she gets to see the dolphins!

Petite Marie said...

Kate - These days it is so rare to see people who really value and appreciate family. And you have shown through this wonderful post that you are one of them. So I just had to compliment you on that...and on your beautiful family and story!
Thanks for sharing!

Jessica said...

Kate, I loved reading your beautiful tribute to your grandmother. What a legacy she has given you and your family in the way she and your grandfather have lived their lives!

My own grandmother (mom's side) is VERY close to me. She and my grandfather, who is now in Heaven, showed me the true meaning of love and faith. My grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and lived with the disease for 16 years. My grandmother devoted her life to taking care of him and never once left his side, even during the hardest stages of the disease. She just celebrated her 86th birthday and although Alzheimer's has taken her memory, she continues to be the most inspirational person to me, beautiful inside and out.

Praying for tranquility for your grandma...Jessica

Kelly - The Party Dress said...

Beautiful post, Kate! My thoughts are with you and your family! xo

GrannySmithGreen said...

Thinking of you and your family. There is nothing that compares to the unconditional love that a grandparent can offer. Praying that she is comfortable and that you all are at peace. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

Melissa Lester said...

Adding your grandmother and family to my prayers and hoping you are all comforted by happy memories during this time.

melissa said...

Oh Kate ... this is such a beautiful post and tribute to your dear grandmother.
My prayers are with you and your family. May your happy memories bring you comfort & peace.


Sharnel said...

You've moved me to tears Kate. What a beautiful tribute to your grandparents.