On Love, Loss & See's Candy

Last weekend, we received sad news. Our sweet Grandma Pat passed away in her sleep. She was 96-years-old, and she was many things: classy, kind, hard-working, and humble. We knew Pat's death was coming. A few weeks ago, she opted for Hospice care. If times were normal, we could have visited Pat during the last few weeks of her life. But these aren't normal times.

I'm sad we couldn't visit Pat, and I'm feeling immense gratitude. We moved back to Northern California in September 2012 and over the past eight years we got to see Pat frequently. For example, when we lived in the same community, I occasionally took her to doctor appointments or grocery shopping.

On our adventures, I made it a point to ask Pat about her life experiences. I adored her stories! Pat grew up in Los Angeles, and as a little girl she'd sneak onto the Fox lot to watch movie's being made. I also loved Pat's stories about what it was like to live through the Great Depression and her transition from a city girl to a cattle woman. Plus, the lessons she imparted about living simply and saving money guided us to a happier life.

I shared a wisdom bomb from Pat in my journal—Everyday Adventures: Tiny Quests to Spark Your Creative Life. I thought it would be fitting to share again. Here’s what I wrote.

In late 2015, I drove my grandma-in-law, Pat, to a doctor’s appointment in Medford, Oregon. The drive from her home outside of Yreka, CA to Medford takes about one-hour. On the drive back home, we talked about a variety of topics including the healthcare system, my step-dad’s death in 2012, and what it means to live well into old age.

I asked Pat, “If you could give advice to an 18-year-old, advice that would help that person live a good life, what would you say?”

Pat offered the following:

1. Spend time with your loved ones.

2. Enjoy each moment because you never know what’s going to happen next.

3. Do the things you want to before your body or mind gives out.

No matter what your age, Pat’s advice is invaluable, and her words of wisdom are at the heart of this journal.

I will miss many things about Pat; especially our trips to See's Candy. When we did errands in Medford, OR, we always stopped at See's. Inevitably, we'd come home with a few boxes of candy. On each visit, I'd end up with chocolate on my shirt or face. Not Pat, though.

I will remember Pat in perfectly pressed white jeans, paired with a floral blouse, and jewelry and lipstick that matched. She was so classy! Just writing about Pat's style makes me want to up my wardrobe game.

Technically, Pat was my grandma-in-law, but she felt like my Grandma. And she reminded me of my Grandma Mable and Great Aunt Mamie. Both passed away shortly after I started college in 1998. If there is a heaven, I hope Pat will enjoy See's Candy with my loved ones. They never got to meet, and I suspect they would have been great friends.

We are sad Pat's gone, and we know it was her time. She is loved and is already missed.

Good Reads & Resources

Below are a list of resources that I thought were worth sharing this week:

One Book

+ Love Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love Story by Kate Clayborn

One App

+ Libby is a free app “where you can borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks from your public library. You can stream books with Wi-Fi or mobile data, or download them for offline use and read anytime, anywhere. All you need to get started is a library card.”

One Article

+ I’m Celebrating 7 Years of Sobriety (In Quarantine) by Holly Glenn Whitaker

One Recipe

+ My friend Cait shared this chocolate chip banana bread recipe. It is delicious and so easy to make! If you're in need of comfort food, make this loaf.

Two Podcasts

+ The Next Year (or Two) of the Pandemic

+ Dr. Jane Goodall — The Legend, The Lessons, The Hope

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Thank you for reading my letter. Be safe!

With gratitude,

Tammy Strobel

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