A Life Well Lived.

October 27, 1911 - May 27, 2017
My incredible Grandma passed away peacefully this weekend at exactly 105 years 7 months old. 
When you live that long, every day and month counts towards your age.
If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you may have seen my posts about Grammy every year on her birthday. 
Today's post is one I never wanted to write.
Part of me thought Grammy was invincible and that she would outlive all of us.
I just couldn't imagine my life without Grammy.

Grammy was the Matriarch of our family & even though we knew this day would eventually come, we are heartbroken.
Family was the most important thing to Grammy. 
She loved us fiercely and always told me how much she loved me and that she was so proud of me. 
Grammy was born October 27, 1911 in the Blue Hills of Idaho.
She was the 3rd child of 7 children.
(She and her youngest sister are the only ones still alive. Jean is the baby of the family & is in her late 80's)
Her family moved briefly to Oregon and then settled in Eureka, California.
She married and then became a bank teller for Wells Fargo.
She survived the Roaring 20's, The Great Depression & The World War Era.
She is a Daughter of the American Revolution.
We have had 45 US Presidents. Grammy has gotten to experience 19 of them! That is 42% of our total US Presidents.
When she was born, there were only 46 states in the USA.

In 1952, she had a surprise baby at age 41...my mom!
She has 2 daughters, 6 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren.

Look at this family photo...it was taken on her 100th birthday. 
This is her legacy....this started with one single mother (my Grammy) and her 2 girls (my aunt & my mom)

The above photo doesn't include Luke, my sisters 2 kids or my cousin's 3rd child because they weren't born yet. 
Grammy was blessed. Beauty from ashes.

She taught me how to be a strong & independent woman...she was the strongest woman I know & she lived through a lot in her 105 + years of life.

Grammy gave me the nickname "Missy" when I was a little girl. 
She is the ONLY person who can call me that. 
Grammy makes you feel special & whenever I would visit, she would tell me that the 4 years I played soccer at Colorado were some of the proudest years of her life.

Here are things that I learned from Grammy that she passed on to me:
Pink is the best color
Fall is our favorite season
Each day should be started with a cup of coffee
Surround yourself with positive people 
Have a home cooked meal waiting for people when they arrive at your house
Whenever we would visit Grammy, she would wake us up in the morning by coming into the room, opening the shades and shouting 
"Wake up! It's daylight in the swap"

Grammy lived about 2.5 hours from us in the Central Valley and growing up we would visit her throughout the year.
I have the best memories from my childhood going to Grammy's house. My aunt, uncle & cousins lived the same town as Grammy. 
Growing up we spent every Memorial Day weekend there & every Thanksgiving at her house. 
Everytime we got to Grammy's house she had a pot of homemade split pea soup on the stove (even during the summer when it is 100 degrees out!) 
When my older sister and I were 10 & 12 my parents let us take Amtrack (by ourselves!) to visit Grammy. I will never forget that trip!

When my mom told me the news that she passed, I couldn't believe it happened on Memorial Day Weekend, it's bittersweet.
My childhood memories of Memorial Day are of spending the weekend at Grammy's house and watching the Indy 500 with my aunt, uncle & cousins. 
My birthday often falls on Memorial Day Weekend, so growing up, most of my birthdays were celebrated with Grammy.
Memorial Day weekend will continue to remind me of Grammy.

Grammy loved to cook and feed her us.
Some of my favorite recipes are ones that I got from Grammy.
Monkey Bread, Banana Bread, Zucchini Bread & Split Pea Soup are things she made us pretty much every time we visited her. 
The soup was our lunch every time we got to Grammy's house and she did this up until she was 103 years old and lived on her own. 
After Grammy turned 103 and moved out of her house, my aunt and mom had us go through the house and take things that were special to us.
I knew I wanted her recipe cards.
I got stacks of Grammy's recipes held together by rubber bands that were so old they were crumbling.
Recipe cards with Grammy's handwriting.
Recipe cards typed out with flour dusted on them.
Recipes as far back from 1920's & 1930's
(Grammy dated most of her recipe cards, so I knew exactly when they were from)
Seeing her familiar handwriting on the recipe cards is so comforting.
Reading through the recipe cards & recognizing some of my favorite things from visiting Grammy's house....so priceless. The recipe cards & cookbooks still smell like Grammy's house.

My plan is to go through the recipes and make a family cookbook for all the women in our family so that we can all have a piece of Grammy's cooking in our kitchens. 

The last time I saw Grammy was on her 105th Birthday.
Her vision, hearing & memory were all fading (which is to be expected when you are 105) so we knew it would just be a matter of time.  Pretty incredible to not be on any medications or have any health issues when you are that age.
Everyone always asked Grammy her advice for living so long & for being in such good health.  
Here is her list of advice:
1. Surround yourself with your family and people you love.
2. Drink Coffee every morning.
3. Have a Happy Hour cocktail everyday (Grammy's preference is a Cranberry Vodka)
4. Stay away from hospitals & doctors.
5. Be positive.

Cheers to you, Grammy. You exemplified a life well lived.
There was no one like her and I can't believe she's gone.
Rest In Peace, Grammy.


  1. Oh, this post is SO beautifully written. It tells an incredibly summary of who she was in so few words. I was hoping she would share what her secrets for a long life were, so I'm glad you shared that. How special that you had such a close relationship with her. Thinking of and praying for your family for this painful loss. It sounds like she leaves behind a family who truly loved her! <3

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your Grammy. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

  3. What a beautiful post! I'm so sorry for your loss, but what a woman she was. You are in my thoughts & prayers!

  4. So very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Wow! She lived an amazing life, Mel. I always loved reading your posts about her. God bless you and your family during this time.

  6. Mel, I am so very sorry for your loss. You had such a special relationship. This post really choked me up. I remember when my Grandmother "Nani" passed, I got to take her Sacred Heart picture. I always loved it and I remember being a little kid watching her pray by that picture. She would also always have fresh flowers in front of the picture. I now have it up in my home office so I can see it every day and have a piece of Nani with me. I think your cookbook idea is a beautiful one :)

  7. So very sorry for your loss. I was very close to my grandmother as we'll. She passed just 2 months shy of her 100th birthday. I remember like you thinking that she was just going to keep going and could not imagine life without her It has been 7 years now and I still miss her very single day. Hugs to you and your family.

  8. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I just lost my grandma 3 weeks ago, so I know exactly how you're feeling. Just like you, I always thought my grandma would outlive everyone...she was the last person in her family & circle of friends to pass away, just 2 months shy of turning 99. I also have my grandma's recipe cards. The 3 things I'll always remember my grandma making is: homemade noodles, cracker pie & brownie pudding. She was ALWAYS in the kitchen cooking or baking up something for her family. I will be thinking of you & your family during this difficult time.

  9. Praying for you & your sweet family! ❤

  10. Beautiful post- so well written! What an amazing life she lived! So sorry for your families loss; will be praying for you all!

  11. Cheers to Grammy! YES to the cookbook for your family AND I am just saying again like I've said before- it would SO be a huge hit to be published...BETTER than any Smucker's label by a MILLION times!!! xoxoxo

  12. Such a sweet tribute to your Grammy- may she rest in peace. I know cooking her recipes and sharing them with your girls will be such a wonderful way to honor her memory.

  13. What a beautiful tribute to your Grammy! I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for your family.

  14. I am so sorry for your loss. I have looked forward to your Grammy's birthday posts each year. She sounds like a fabulous woman and I'm so glad that you have memories and recipes to help her live on!! Thank you for sharing with us!!

  15. I was so sad to see your post on Instagram last night. Your Grammy sounded like an incredible woman and I always looked forward to your posts about her birthday each year. May she rest in peace.

  16. What a wonderful tribute to your Grammy. Prayers for your family during this time!

  17. What a beautiful tribute to her! It's so hard to lose such a special person but I hope you find comfort in her never ending love for you :)

  18. What an amazing lady! My youngest shares her birthday. Prayer of comfort and peace.

  19. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I hope your memories of her continue to bring you comfort and peace. I love the cookbook idea, too!

  20. Such a beautiful post about such a special soul. May she rest in peace and God be with you and your family during this time. XO

  21. Some of my favorite posts were the ones about your Grammy. What an amazing life! Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  22. Such a special lady. I've always enjoyed your stories about her. It means so much that you have incorporated so much of her wisdom into your own life. I know you will miss her. XXOO

  23. So sorry for your loss, such a great role model for you. When my husband's grandma passed he too wanted only her recipes. For Christmas that year I organized them all and put them in a recipe binder. To this day he says it was his best gift ever. Gallery Leather has the perfect recipe binders for this!!

  24. So sorry for your loss, such a great role model for you. When my husband's grandma passed he too wanted only her recipes. For Christmas that year I organized them all and put them in a recipe binder. To this day he says it was his best gift ever. Gallery Leather has the perfect recipe binders for this!!

  25. I'm so sorry for your loss, what an incredible woman she was! I was very close with both my grandmas and they both passed away within a few months of each other. They've been gone now for 6 years and not a day goes by that I don't think of them. I made a scrapbook page with some of my fave recipe cards of theirs and framed it, so everytime I cook they are with me. :)

  26. My sympathy to you on the loss of your grandmother. Sounds like she was a wonderful woman. It's great that you have the treasures of her recipe cards. Love her life advice!

  27. My precious mom passed away on May 27 at the age of 93. Maybe they went thru the Pearly Gates together. :-) So sorry for your loss. It is never easy, no matter how old your loved one is.
    Praying sweet memories bring you peace.
    Susan in Indiana

  28. So sorry for your loss. Just from reading this post, I felt like I knew Grammy and enjoyed being with her ❤️ What an amazing woman.

  29. There are so many similarities between your Grammy and my Grandma who lived to be 104 years and seven months (and yes, the months count at that age!). My grandma also lived on her own until she was 103. Her view to living a long life was to be positive, drink lots of coffee, and grow your own vegetables. I think it's lovely that you have your Grammy's recipe cards. What a treasure.

    Here's to amazing women. We are fortunate to have known them.

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