Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Family Reunion in Canada: Part I - Background


My dear grandmother had been suffering from Alzheimer's and Dementia. Over the last few years it has progressed to the point where we had to move her into an assisted living home. At first she was very reluctant and didn't feel like she should leave the home that her and Grandpa Woody (1913-1998) had together. Her children convinced her to go and once she was there, and settled in, she found a way to be fine with the change. 

A few months ago my grandmother broke her leg and fell. She went though hours of surgery and we didn't know if she was going to make it but she is tough. She then spent time in various hospitals while she recovered. This was difficult  due to the fact that she would wake up every morning and not remember why she was in the hospital.

We knew her time was coming but we were all hoping she would make it to the Family Reunion that the family has been planning for the last two years. She didn't make it. My sweet grandmother Gladys Holt Stringam passed away in her sleep on June 6, 2015. She was such a great woman who had such an amazing life and a wonderful heritage. She had 13 ancestors who crossed the plains to SLC during the Mormon Pioneer movement. Two of her ancestors died on the plains but her grandfather was born on the trail. My grandmother was part of the "Daughters of Utah Pioneers" and she even dressed up and was part of the Canada Day Raymond Parade one year.

[Grandma all dressed up for the Parade in 2008]

[Grandmas mission picture. She served for 20 months in the Eastern States Mission (1948-1950)]

Grandma was a great baker. She made the most amazing Angel Food Cake that I have ever had! She would also make us homemade chocolates every year for Christmas. And whenever she came down to visit she would always have a treat for us when we got home from school whether it be chocolate chip cookies, a jelly roll, angel food cake, or regular rolls. The house would smell delicious!

I know that grandma loved getting flowers so I would sent her flowers for her birthday and at Christmas time. When she started showing signs of Alzheimer's and Dementia I upped my delivery and sent them every few months. There were a lot of things that my grandma started forgetting but she didn't forget those flowers and who sent them to her. The last time I talked to her I told her that I was "Courtney, Arlene's daughter, the one that sends you flowers" and she got so excited and thanked me over and over again for the flowers. I had a delivery scheduled for June 2nd but I never got a confirmation email from the florist that they had made the delivery. When I heard that she had passed away on June 6 I called the florist and asked if they had made the delivery that was scheduled for the 2nd. They didn't. They had forgotten. I was so heartbroken.

The last time I was in Canada my grandmother asked me what I wanted from her when she died. I told her that I wanted her mother's (Sarah) wedding ring. Grandma was surprised. She didn't think anyone wanted it because it was just a gold band. But she said I could have it but I had to be married first. 

She kept her word and I now wear my great-grandmother Sarah's wedding ring.

Our Family Reunion carried on as planned but with one addition: my grandmother's funeral.

Love you Grandma. You will be missed.

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