Edith Mary Ryder / May 29, 1918-June 14, 2009
I often times can sit down at my laptop, fingers typing at lightening speed, words filling the page. For some reason, I can't do that now. I think it is because I know that what I want to say is so profoundly important to my heart and that jokes just aren't going to cut it. In fact, I've been sitting here for awhile, not sure how to get what is in my mind translated into actual words.
The photograph is of my gorgeous grandmother, Edith. She was the most wonderful grandma [and I've got 11 cousins who will tell you the very same thing.] She taught me how extraordinary life is- that each day is to be filled with joy. My grandma lived her life with such zest. I can remember so many specific instances when she entered a room, and it actually got brighter. Not in the cliche sense, but truly... she was the sun. Most importantly, she taught me to laugh- not just out loud, but with every part of me succumbing to this belly laugh until everyone in the room can't help but laugh either. Laughing with Grandma so much made me who I am.
I vividly remember afternoons of my childhood spent at her home. We, of course, would have to watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. But before that, I would play in her room, in awe of her jewelry and perfume and fabulous coats and purses. She loved to tell me about occasions when she wore specific items, or when they were purchased. Every piece had a story, and each story ended in laughter... that much I know. She would often do my nails... it was always the same shade of light pink by Revlon. She would laugh at how she always missed the very far side of the nail- one spot I always miss too. And every time I see the bare spot of fingernail, I think of her and sitting at her kitchen table... drinking lemonade and getting my nails done while we listened to Dr. Laura.
I like to look at old photos of her, like the one above, and marvel at her beauty and style. But I think it is so much more than that. An excerpt from her obituary can say so well what she encompassed and what I think each day:
"Edith Ryder is the best example we know of all that made this country great, and she lived a life to which we all should aspire. Her joy, her gracious smile, her faith and the love she gave to her family are her values and our values. Our memories of her generosity and caring spirit will always live on as we honor a woman who each day reached for no other power than a life of joy, grace and service to others, a life reflecting the love of Jesus Christ."
Missing someone is a strange thing. Some days, entirely out of the blue, something will trigger a memory and I'll miss her so much more than I ever thought I could miss someone. But then, I'll continue thinking about all of the memories and lessons and how full of a life she had... and my sadness will turn into a joy. A joy for simply knowing someone so truly wonderful.
Thank you for letting me share :)
[Last year, I wrote a longer post about her [on my old blog]. It includes more photographs of her impeccable style. You can see it here.]