Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Aaand, We're Back

{A Brief Reflection on An Epic Life Well-Lived}



Happy New Year, muggles. A belated Merry Christmas, too. As some of you sweet readers noted bigBANG has been conspicuously silent these past two weeks, and promises of the Anti-Gift Guide Gift Guide went unmet (how about a near-future post called The Awesome Stuff List for Non-Materialists Who Secretly Covet Awesome Stuff?).

The truth of it is the past few weeks have been a blur, and I'm only now coming back up for air. My beloved adoptive grandmother died from complications from breast cancer right before Christmas, and this little blog has taken a back seat to some much-needed, blessed family time. I flew out to Bozeman, Montana to be with her before she died and spent a magical few bedside sessions with her as she regaled me with amusing stories and dictated detailed instructions on how to:

-propagate ferns from spores
-throw a cocktail party for fifty
-look good while riding a camel
-better understand the collapse of Golden Age Holland vis-à-vis the speculative tulip market

If the above abridged list is any indication of her humor, wit and intellect, you can imagine she was an incredible woman. She was an artist in the way she lived her life. And besides my mother she has been the biggest influence on how I have set out trying to live a full life, and I miss her desperately. I know I'm not the only one. So let's raise our glasses to great women: to the mothers, grandmothers and Auntie Mames who have inspired us to lead more adventurous lives. Here's to 2012.

32 comments:

  1. Here here! I'll raise my glass to your grandmother who sounds as if she could be the subject of an entire novel, and probably a bestseller at that, for any woman who rides a camel is a hero of mine as well. Terribly sorry for your loss, but happy to read that you are back. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I want to shower you with cookies and tea and flowers and stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Lily, I am so, so sorry. I know the loss you feel. If there is any consolation in it, it's that you were able to be with her until the end, and that you can live with the blessings she imparted to you (I'm learning more about this every single day that my mom is gone, and it has truly made me grow over the past year). I send you huge hugs filled with love and comfort. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so glad that you got to spend some time with your grandmother. That can be so great to learn about someone's life experiences and wisdom, more so when you know that you're going to lose them. I'm thinking of you and your family, and I'm glad that you're back.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A salute to your grandmother and all the other women who choose to live the bold, joyful and fearless lifestyle of an artist! Sounds like she did a great job of passing the creative torch to you! Sorry, though, you had to say goodbye.

    ReplyDelete
  6. to great women! raising my glass to your grandmother; one eye with a tear, but there is also a smile!

    ReplyDelete
  7. She sounds amazing. I'm so sorry for your loss, but really glad that you got to spend some time with her before she passed. And yes, I'll raise a glass to great women any day! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so sorry, Lily, and also happy for you. You are a lucky lady to have had her in your life and you know it. That's the best boiled down epitaph anyone can get. My thoughts are with you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My condolences, Lily. It's never easy to get over the death of a loved one.

    ReplyDelete
  10. sorry to hear about your loss. she sounds like an incredible woman!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so sorry to hear that, Lily. Fucking cancer ruining so much of 2011 for so many, seriously, I'm done with it.

    On a lighter note, I'm starting a new "cool stuff" series on my blog and I'm so tempted to rename it "The Awesome Stuff List for Non-Materialists Who Secretly Covet Awesome Stuff" because that's exactly my intention.

    Huge hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So, so, so, so sorry for your loss. Am very glad you had the chance to make that trip and be with her- she sounds wonderful and I'd venture a guess that she gained as much from you as she ever gave to you...that's just how it is with those amazing kinds of relationships.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so sorry, my dear. But it's no wonder that you are the incredible woman you are, with adoptive grandmothers of such wonderful calibre to light the way. Raising my glass to you both - here's to 2012, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, I'm so, so, sorry. I'm glad you were able to fly out to be with her, though. I wouldn't trade the days I had with my grandmother before she died (just over a year ago) for anything, and I'm sure you feel the same. It sounds like she was an amazing woman.

    Cheers to great women, indeed. xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. LONG LIVE AUNTIE MAME!!! you're the next one, cowgirl! love you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. how wonderful that you got to spend time with your grandmother before she passed.
    your blog is wonderful
    i love all the colors and art!
    wishing all the best in the new year

    ReplyDelete
  17. To real dames and 2012, wishing you a full year ahead Lily!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, Auntie Mames! What a treasure of a woman she sounds to have been! I love the last bits of wisdom and advice she passed on to you. So wonderful. And if you ever throw a cocktail party for 50, I would love to hear how it's done!

    Much love and joy to you this new year, Lily!
    xo
    cortnie

    ReplyDelete
  19. gosh that's awful that she passed so recently! i'm glad you two got some great time together...i can tell she's influenced your personality a lot, if only based on the discussion list. i send oodles of hugs! :)

    (now...about this looking-good-whilst-riding-camels thing...?)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm glad you got to have a few last chats with her before she died. And cliché though it is, she'll always be with you, when you mix cocktails or see a camel, or in a million other little ways.

    My thoughts are with you!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh Lil, this world has, beyond a doubt lost a beautiful beautiful soul. I wish you a happy new year to you and all your loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
  22. oh my goodness, i'm so sorry. it's hard losing those you love so much. after i hit this "publish comment" button i'm going to sit back and focus all my energy and love to you. here's to auntie mames and an awesome 2012.

    ReplyDelete
  23. She sounds like an unbelievably interesting, amazing woman. I'm so glad you had her in your life, and I'm sure she cherished your presence in hers as well. Did you meet her when you were working out west?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Am so sorry to hear of this loss, she sounded like a pretty amazing woman.
    It is good to hear that you were able to go and be with her in her last days.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh, so very sorry, Lily. My heart is with yours. How wonderful to have such a brilliant woman in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  26. so sorry to hear of this loss. yes, here is to all of the amazing women in the world, past, present, future.

    ReplyDelete
  27. So sorry. She sounded like an amazing women. So nice that you got to see her.

    ReplyDelete
  28. oh my what a bittersweet way to end the year. im so sorry lily but how fortunate to know what seems like an amazing lady but then you already know that!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I will wholeheartedly raise my glass to that! And my heart goes out to you in this hard time of loss. :(

    My Christmas night was also spent kneeling beside the enormous EZchair in which my adopted Grandmother sat sipping her teeny glass of wine and recounting tales of her life to me. This woman is still one of the most passionate, informed, educated, and spirited political, environmental, and social activists I know. My admiration for her is so deep, and I know for certain I would not be the person I am today without her influence in my life.

    One example of her awesomeness: She and her husband stood at freezing-cold boat landings in N. Wisconsin in early spring, supporting Native American rights to spear-fish while hundreds of ignorant townies crowded around them throwing rocks and racists insults (and even shooting off guns) at the Natives who had showed up to practice those sacred rites.

    They put their reputation in town and their safety on the line time after time throughout their lives for the sake of what they believed.

    Plus, she wears handmade silk scarves around her neck, has beautiful curly white hair and saves every card I've ever made for her, pinned to the walls of their sweet farmhouse in the UP of MI. Loves her.

    I dread the day I'll be writing a post like the one you wrote today. But I thank the Great Spirit that she exists and I promise to carry on her legacy to the best of my ability.

    Hugs to you, Lily.

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a beautiful post. I am so sorry for your loss, it was a big one. I raise my glass to that!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well, it's pretty obvious you two are of the same seed, adoptive or not. Sad you had to say goodbye too soon, Lily. Hopefully her spirit is with you even so. xoxo

    ReplyDelete

Your turn: