Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Passing of a Great Lady, Jessma Hazel Gibson 1927-2010

Dear Friends and Visitors,

I have been absent from the blogging world for several weeks since the passing of my mother-in-law. Feelings have been tender in our home and I just haven't had the heart to blog.

Today, I'd like to share the thoughts of my beautiful niece, Emily, who wrote about her grandmother on her blog, Leaves of Our Lives.

And this is what I know . . . I know that she is comfortable and that for the last little while the pain was so great that her body was really just a shell . . . but part of me still can let go all the way. Her passing is the last part of the memories that were part of my world when I lived in California. I will never visit her perfectly manicured home again with all the treasures that I wanted to examine as a child, or smell the eucalyptusy air that can only be captured inside. I will not have reason to drive into the ivy covered hills of Encino that felt so far away from the busy city below.

I will not swim in her pool and have soda in styrofoam cups with two ice cubes, and the best ham sandwiches in the world. I will not have stale-ish cookies from the vintage bear jar, hard old time Christmas candies from the crystal ornate dish, or Dreyer's ice cream in one of her fluted ice cream bowls. I will not sit on her vintage plush orange couch and treasure the texture of the pillows. I will not take off my shoes and feel the familiar smooth green tiles in the hallway or pass the lava rocks. I will not sleep in the guest bedroom with the seventies television and exercise bike, or use the hall bathroom with the red lighting, and pass through into Pamela's room that has been preserved from her childhood and admire the bears, the prom crown, and the recessed chaise built into the wall.

I will never swim in her pool with my brothers, sisters, and cousins again, or walk across the splintery deck where I could look out into the vast city of Los Angeles. I will never take walks through the rose garden, or pass the lemon trees where I used to have grand notions of princessdom as a child due to the imagination provoking setting. I will never wonder at the magic of the self playing piano or the pretty perfume bottles in the bathrooms. I will never play with the little people schoolhouse, the life game, or Kanasta on the shag carpet. I will never see her again in her chic headwrap scarf, high waisted slacks, and demure blouse. I will never see her lovely handwriting in a card containing a check with $75 and her signature ending of "God Bless". I will never attend a fancy dinner party with perfectly dressed holiday tables, dressy clothes, and fantastically wrapped presents. I will never receive clothing gifted that I didn't have the taste to appreciate until now. I will never hear her lovely southern accent or see her beautiful smile adorned with bright red lipstick. I will never visit the only place in California that still feels like home.

And yet . . . I'll never again hear the pain in her voice or her lack of air when we speak on the phone. I'll never have to hear that she is in the hospital again because of her lungs or terrible back. I'll never visit again and watch her sit uncomfortably and struggle for breath, or strain to embrace. I'll never feel sad that she is lonely and struggling to maintain the life she had with Grandpa.

I know she is in a better place. I know she is happy. I know she is comfortable and youthful.

. . . and still. I will miss her more. I will miss her more because with her passing, their legacy is over and the memories will only be preserved in photos and on paper . . . and in a grassy expanse with stones engraved with names and dates of so many that are gone. It's sad to me.

Emily's words perfectly describe how we all feel.

I will miss the sheer force of my mother-in-law's personality. She wasn't a quitter, no matter how bad life became. She would soldier on in the face of any adversity. She was/is so many things that I struggle to be. She was/is one of the last of a dying breed of woman - a very great Lady.

God bless and keep you, Mom. You are dearly loved and missed. Watch over us, your family, with the same tenacity you showed in this life when faced with every challenge. Help us along the path until we cross over to embrace you and Dad again in the Great Beyond.



Moxie said...

Thoughts and prayers for you and your family (((hugs)))

Myrnie said...

So beautifully said, the end of a beautiful life is always a poignant time.

Sybil said...

God bless you all...
Love Sybil xx

Alexandra said...

What a wonderful picture this tribute gives of your MIL. It reminded me so much of my grandmother who passed in the 1990's. She was much older, but still had the same kind of old fashioned house in S. Florida. i have similar memories.

May she rest in peace.