Today is going to be a bit of a departure from the usual post. Earlier this week, I was driving home from New Hampshire to where I grew up in Massachusetts. It was a solemn drive, as my brother and I were heading to our parents’ house upon learning of the passing of my grandmother, Grace Heley Bigelow, earlier that morning. The entire way home, the sky continued to get more colorful and more amazing…with blues, reds, pinks, and oranges all blending in the sky in beautiful fashion. It was definitely a bright spot in the day. About 15 minutes from home, we saw an opening and reflections of the sunset in a nearby lake – so we had to stop so that I could do my thing. I was thrilled at the reward, a final gift from Grandma Grace.
Gram was one of my proudest supporters, asking for a copy of each individual business card that I had made for The Daily Portsmouth, each with a different photo on the back…and she was always delighted when I brought home a sample of something that had been published, or when I brought her a new photo.
It was amazing to make such a strong woman proud… even though her love was unconditional – if there was something she found unsuitable, she’d be the first to tell you to your face. “You need a haircut; you need to lose weight; I don’t like it when you don’t shave”…these are just samples of some of the hysterical one-liners that she’d share. That was just her, she’d tell you how it was, because she thought you should know. This was largely how I knew her and remember my grandfather…they were a great pair in that respect. However, it’s over the past few years when Gram lived with my parents that I came to know her in a more real way as an adult. She was one of the happiest people I knew, very thankful for her family and her daughters, and one of the sweetest people you’d ever know. She was sharp as a tack until her last breath, which she shared with her three beautiful daughters in the comfort of her home. She lived a full life of 92 years, and taught me what it was to work hard and be strong, loving and caring, most of which I didn’t realize had roots in her, until recently. I am so grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with her over the past few years. I will miss her terribly, and I know that I will share that feeling with everyone who was lucky enough to have her in their lives.
(Here is Grace meeting her great granddaughter Norah for the first time)