Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ethel Cairns, 1910-2005

My grandmother passed away last Saturday at the age of 94. I last saw Grandma in May...she was the most amazing mix of clarity and confusion I have ever seen. At one minute she was speaking beautifully about her gratitude for the years of marriage with my grandfather, and another moment she was telling me a garbled story about myself, obviously unclear to whom she was speaking. I think the experience can be best summed up by her statement, "I'm not sure who these people are who are sending me cards and letters, but it is wonderful that they remember and care about me."

In her earlier days, Grandma was, of course, clearer. She did many things in her life...raised two successful daughters, learned to invest in the stock market, and was very generous with her family. When someone reaches 94, you almost expect them to be around forever, and it's hard to believe she's gone.

I'm leaving California Thursday afternoon. The funeral is Monday in Albert Lea, Minnesota, where she spent the last sixty-some years.

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