She wasn't a warm and fuzzy lady, but she had her moments. She was intensely practical and expected others to act in a similar fashion. She taught us that the world isn't that big of a place and to go and see all of it that we could. She modeled for her whole family, in countless ways, that you make the most of every situation-good or bad- and don't use it to make excuses for yourself. She never did. She showed us what determination and hard work look like. She was articulate (exactly what you'd expect from an English teacher!) and always ready with some insight or encouragement or a kick in the pants- whatever she thought you needed that day. She'd smack me in the middle of my back and tell me to stand up straight and be proud of the height God gave me. She taught my mom, who taught me, how to care for people and make them feel welcomed and wanted in my home. She was thrifty and loved to get a good deal (I come by it honest!). She was fully present in conversation and comfortable with silence.
She was all of these things and so much more. She was my last living grandparent and I feel like something has come unhinged with her passing. I can't quite articulate it, but I don't really like how it feels. But I know what I need to do. And it's her voice I hear in my mind saying, "Buck up, Kate."
I will, Gram. I will.
Meeting Haven for the first time in April 2006