Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My grandmother died today. Her last hours were spent in the I.C.U. of Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. I wondered what their staff thought of this shrunken little lady with her daughter and granddaughters huddling about, clinging to the hope she would recover. They couldn't see a woman who was a stellar talent in a more than one hundred year family tradition of folk music, with a voice that could cut through fog. They had no inkling of a woman whose biscuits and gravy are legendary in our family. Mostly, they couldn't have any idea of the boundless love it must have taken for a woman to imbue her every child, grandchild and great-grandchild with a unique bond to her and each with a secret suspicion that they were her very favorite. In her prime, Bertie stood stalwart and strong with the spirit of the most daring generosity - her feelings were so tender, and yet she never withheld aid to the least among us. Like the gift of music and the gift of a natural cook - the alchemy that spins tiny efforts into the Herculean manna of nurturing was a formula Bertie knew well. Rather than being a footnote in this grandchild's life, Bertie was a grace note. May her soul be eternally blessed.