Farewell, Ila Ashenhurst Fowler
It's the end of an era. My beautiful, sweet grandmother passed away Friday. She was a lovely lady who lived for my grandpa George, who preceded her in death 16 years ago. Her days since then were filled with longing for the man she loved. She wanted to go. It made us sad to hear her say so, but it was true.
I am so grateful to have spent time with her this year twice. In February, dad and I besieged upon her overgrown flowerbeds to weed and replant. The Coronado Flower Show society made the neighborhood rounds and gave her a red ribbon, the first in many years (she used to have ribbons every year!). It made me happy this year she could look out the window with a little help and see pretty flowers from her bedroom out back, too.
The kids enjoyed visits with me to Coronado to see her, and Ila loved her great grandsons, all five of them (two of them mine). They liked giving her hugs, visiting her at the side of her comfy chair, and chatting. They delighted in using the lemons from her tree to make lemonade.
The house that has always been the place of our abundant, extended family holidays will eventually be sold, but the memories within will live forever. Grandma made elaborate feasts. My brother, cousin and I used to do after-dinner skits in the living room for her and the family. Grandma sewed clothes for us from her machine when we were little. The Christmas tree, ornaments culled from generations, glowed in the bay window. The guest room closet was stuffed with gorgeous beaded gowns, suits and stoles she wore decades ago as the put-together wife of a career marine. I can still smell her Estee Lauder "Youth Dew" perfume and see the vibrance of her bright blue eyes. The memories flood in. I keep crying.
She saw me through college and funded my tuition and books, etc. I got As and she didn't want me to struggle. Ever. I worked my way through at the same time, of which she was proud. She was beaming the day I graduated, and came out to Hawaii to celebrate the commencement--already 80 then and a bit unsteady on her dainty, impossibly narrow feet. She loved me--us--so much and I her.
What a rich, full life she lived to make it to 92. I will miss her terribly, but I am relieved she has returned to the love of her life. I know they're celebrating their reunion somewhere while I weep these happy and sad tears.