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The Truth About Celia
Oh no, not the briar patch.
What I would have said if I went to meeting today
I thought about going to meeting today. I slept in instead, but I thought about it before and since, and if i'd gone, I think I would have stood up and spoken, which I have never done in meeting. If I had gone and had stood up, I would have said something like this:
When my grandmother was little, she lived about three streets away from here. She watched people come here Sunday mornings, and she decided that she liked the look it. Of the meeting house, of the people, or of the religion, I don't know. But when she grew up and had kids, she raised them as Quakers, at State College Monthly Meeting in PA. I was born in that meeting, and grew up being Quaker, and knowing how much my grandmother valued Quakerism. When I started coming here, every time she asked if I had a meeting, and I told her I was attending meeting here, she would tell me again how she found Quakerism though this meeting.

She died Friday night, in her sleep. I will miss her.
Of course, there's a lot that I wouldn't have been able to say in the meeting. Like how she went back to school after her youngest, my dad, went to college. And she finished her BA and then got a PhD. And moved to New Jersey to teach. How we went to get her when she moved to my home town, and I was 8 or 9, and couldn't even remember what she looked like I'd seen her so rarely. She had loong hair, down to her waist, that she wore in a bun. When she moved to Lewisburg, she cut it short and wore it that way from then on. When I went to Italy on study abroad, I read a book called Mothers of Feminism, about Quaker women in the early days, and I wrote back to Libby about how brave these women were, to tell their husbands they were going ministering, and leave their children behind and travel the country on horseback, going to meetings and talking about god. And even the old women would do it! 75 years old, and traveling around ministering! And she wrote back and reminded me that she was 75, and moving to Philadelphia to work for the Quaker UN.

She was 85. She was living in a nursing home, in the first level of it (independent living?), and she was rapidly approaching the time when she wouldn't get her own apartment, just a room in the next level (assisted Living). (my father made a Dante reference here.) She had been getting more and more forgetful every time I saw her, but she approached it in a wonderful way, as suits a scientist. She was curious and interested in everything new to her, and everything was new to her. She'd say, "Now who are you?" to me, and I'd explain it all, including my parents, and their names, and their relationship to her. And she'd say, "Is your father here?" and look around interestedly. For a while she would write it all down, but that didn't really work because she'd just ask you the same thing again, and then write that down. The last time I saw her, I went with her and my uncle to Woods Hole, where she grew up, and she had a wonderful time. She knew everything! Where she'd lived, where other people had lived, how she had dated a boy with a motorcycle who lived over on the rich part of the bay, and her parents had disapproved. And she told me about her dad, who discovered the Redfield Ratio, and worked in the Woods Hole Oceanographical Institute, and showed us their house that is now part of the WHOI, and we had a wonderful day. And we drove back to my aunt's house, and got out, and she asked me again who I was, and I wondered if she had ridden the whole way back, wondering who I was in the back, and how it didn't matter to her at all. She wasn't scared or fearful of the unknown, she liked learning everything just as much every time.

I will miss her. But, I have been missing her for the better part of 10 years now, I think. Definitely 6 or more. I miss the grandmother I grew up with, and I am sad because even though that woman was gone, now she will never come back, not even for the split seconds i'd see now and then.
11 comments or Leave a comment
hobbitblue From: hobbitblue Date: October 12th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
She sounds an amazing woman, thank you for sharing a little bit of her like this..
snurri From: snurri Date: October 12th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry for your loss.
tacithydra From: tacithydra Date: October 12th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so sorry. She sounds like an amazing person.

Thank you so much for sharing some of her like this.
matociquala From: matociquala Date: October 12th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
This is beautiful, and I am so very sorry for your loss.
deborahlive From: deborahlive Date: October 12th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so sorry for your loss, Celia, but I'm glad you chose to share this with all of us out here.
jamiam From: jamiam Date: October 12th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry she's gone. But I'm glad you got to have such a fantastic grandmother, and that you got a chance to know her and appreciate her for all of that.

And the long version of it was much better than the shorter version would have been, anyway.
stronae From: stronae Date: October 12th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
::hug:: I'm sorry to hear about this news.
sage_and_sea From: sage_and_sea Date: October 12th, 2009 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm very sorry. My grandfather did the same thing at about 2 am Saturday, and I feel much the same about his passing.
gilmer From: gilmer Date: October 12th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
So sorry to hear about your loss. Your tribute here is very moving.
From: hawkwing_lb Date: October 12th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry.
fingle From: fingle Date: October 12th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
This made me cry. Thank you, and I'm sorry for your loss. Would that we all could rely on a tribute like this at our passing...
11 comments or Leave a comment