In Memory of Grandma

In Memory of Grandma

WARNING: This is one of those heavy blog posts, the kind that doesn’t involve pretty home accessories or latest design trends.  I know it’s not why you usually tune in to Pursuing Vintage, but I figured this is a chance for you to get to know me better, and a bit of therapy for me.

One month ago, on July 10th, my dear grandmother passed away.  You could say it was sudden.  It caught us off guard.

“Gram,” as I called her, was 88 years young.  Nobody believed she was 88.  She still dyed her hair.  She watched Housewives and read People Magazine.  She kept up on all the latest politics.  Widowed for 19 years, she still lived on her own and treasured her independence.  She was a strong woman, the matriarch of our family.

Gram lived in San Antonio, many many miles from Virginia, and I didn’t see her as often as I would have liked.   I took my boys to see her for her 88th birthday last October.  I will cherish those memories of my kids running around her home – bringing delight to her eyes, a smile to her face.

When I saw my Gram in October, I sat with her and brainstormed all her favorite recipes.  I made a list, and wanted to compile them in a book.  Her memory was starting to fail, and it was too taxing on her to sit and tell me the steps of all the recipes.  I told her I’d call her once a week and ask her for 1 recipe, and eventually we’d get it done.  I didn’t.  I tucked the list away and found other things that “needed to get done” before that project.

I finally picked up the project in June.  I started inputting the recipes I had, but quickly realized I couldn’t get much further without her help.  By the time I called her to get some recipes, she was in too much pain from a recent medical complication to be able to work on the project with me.  I had waited too long.

Her death came at a time in my life when I was feeling overwhelmed with everything.  The day to day living that can consume us.  I had described my life as feeling like I “couldn’t get off the merry-go-round”.  No matter what I did, I felt there was more to do.  Life wouldn’t/couldn’t slow down.  I lost track of what was important.

After traveling to San Antonio to gather as a family and mourn, I reflected on my life and what was happening.  I vowed to change things, and change my perspective.  It’s the little things.  Saying “yes, I will” to my kids, instead of “in a minute”.  Stepping away from whatever “To Do List” item I was working on, and turning off the TV for them and grabbing a game of Candy Land.  Picking up the phone and checking in with a family member I haven’t talked to recently.  Reassessing what is really important at any given moment.  My kids top my list.  I’m thankful I’m here and home to make them lunch and wipe their faces.  I’m thankful I can help them pick out their clothes and bathe them.  I’m thankful I’m here to hug them whenever I want – to hold them and snuggle.  To run my fingers through their hair and kiss their adorable cheeks.  My sons are my purpose.  My family is my purpose.  In the end, my husband and kids are what makes me happy.  Not a clean kitchen floor.  Not a perfectly styled coffee table.

It takes time to change old habits.  Of course daily life tasks still need to be tended to.  (I still have to sit and pay bills once and awhile, unfortunately!  And that laundry… Ugh!)  But when I start to feel overwhelmed, I remember how upset with myself I was (am) that I didn’t call my grandmother more often.  That I didn’t finish that cookbook for her to enjoy.  I remind myself that I have the power to get off the merry-go-round simply by changing my perspective.

Looking through my grandmother’s home after her death, I found some recipes lying around.  I gathered what I could and vowed to finish this cookbook. Her cooking was a way of showing us her love.  And I hope this cookbook will be a testament to her of how much we all love her and will miss her.

My changing of perspectives and priorities leaves me with a greater sense of peace.  Pursuing Vintage is my third baby – and something that brings me joy.  I will not be abandoning it, or you.   However, I realize that tying myself to a set schedule for publishing new posts won’t work for me.  I can’t say that I’ll have a new post twice a week, or every x number of days.  I ask that you remain loyal readers – I treasure your feedback and knowing that people out there see beauty in some of the same things I do.  Please subscribe to have posts delivered to your inbox, or follow me on Bloglovin so that you will know when a new post is up.  You will continue to see me here, and also on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Thank you for reading today, and everyday.





6 replies
  1. mary beth @
    mary beth @ says:

    Hi Kristen, so sorry to hear about your grandmother, she was beautiful. I’m sure you’ll find beautiful ways to frame her old cookbook pages or written recipes in her memory. Last Christmas I bought my children recipe binders and have not started to fill them yet. This is a great reminder not to wait and I will start a few pages today. Thank you for that. Take it easy and we’ll be here whenever you decide to post. Mary Beth

  2. Karena
    Karena says:

    Dear Kristen, I am so sorry to hear of your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The recent loss in my family also gave me pause to take the time every day for those I love. It is so easy to get caught up on the daily merry-go-round. A very poignant and meaningful post Kristen!

    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Nicoletta Belletti

  3. Barb
    Barb says:

    Dear Kristen,
    What a wonderful blog post and a wonderful reflection on your dear “Gram.” How proud she must have been of you and the family you and your husband have created. Now being a Grandmother myself I know the joy a Grandchild brings and watching them grow is beyond measuring. I am sure she felt that. I know the regrets you have waiting to do something because you thought you would have more time. You are so right to do what you are doing, time spent with the people you love most in this world is the very best thing in the world! I will stay a loyal reader, no matter when you post. I enjoy your blog and your love of vintage, style and and now I will enjoy knowing what a great wife and mommy you are! Best, Barb

  4. Shelly@ConfettiStyle
    Shelly@ConfettiStyle says:

    Kristen, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother. Sometimes it takes big moments in life to remind us to treasure the small moments. As you work on that cookbook, I know you will find peace and joy in each one. I’m a faithful follower and know that whenever and whatever you post on the blog will be inspiring.

  5. KMR
    KMR says:

    Your grandmother was so beautiful, Kristen. Is that her marble rolling pin? What a special keepsake to remember her by. I’ve missed your posts the past few weeks, but of course know and understand that life takes many turns and sometimes all you can do is hold on. This blog should always be a fun “extra”, not a stress or burden for you. You know I’ll always follow along regardless!

  6. Vel
    Vel says:

    First of all, a big hug to you for Grams passing… I was very close to my Lola (What we call our grandmother) too and I miss her so, I love her scent and luckily, the memory of that still lingers whenever I think about her. In a way, I’m sure your Grams will agree on your perspective, just like we all do. Blogging for me is a hobby, a way of sharing, but not a priority, so take your time, keep on enjoying your family, life in general, and we’ll still be here, blogging and reading here and there whenever we can. 🙂

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