The photo above was taken on 18 January 2006 (and yes, that is an 15-month-old Grace). The previous month, Seattle logged 35+ days of rain, rain, and more rain. I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I called up my in-laws and asked if I could bring Grace for a visit. A few weeks later, we were on a plane to Tucson.
My in-laws teased me the whole time I was there. They couldn’t fathom why I was out on the back stoop all day with my face tilted up to the sun. They didn’t know how much I needed and craved some Vitamin D.
The photo above is of Kurt’s grandma, affectionately known to the whole family as Mom-mom. Kurt can’t really remember a time when Mom-mom wasn’t at least just around the corner. In the late 1980s Mom-mom came to live with his family, becoming a permanent fixture. She helped watch the boys while Kurt’s parents were at work, and even took in sitting for the neighborhood kids for extra money. One of the kids she babysat while Kurt’s family still lived on Long Island was Billy Joel. No foolin’!
She moved to Tucson with Kurt’s parents in the late 80s. She watched Kurt and his brothers grow from boys into men. She saw both Kurt and his little brother Brian join the Navy, and loving eating the food Kurt’s brother Scott would prepare after gaining work as a chef. She met both me and Brian’s wife, approving of us both, and was so thrilled when Grace and Mary Ellen were born.
But her health had been declining these last few years. A series of strokes robbed her of her mobility and quality of life. And yesterday she passed away in peace, finally free of all of her health issues.
I like to think that now she’s finally singing and talking with her natural voice, as a tracheostomy performed as a result of throat cancer had rendered her unable to speak without a machine.
My only regret is that she wasn’t able to meet Mary Ellen. But at least now she’s at peace.