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Tuesday, April 3, 2007


My grandmother, Jeanne Freeman Smith, died this morning.

I didn't quite make it to see her off while she was still alive, but I sat by her body with my mom and dad for a while. She looked very peaceful and relaxed.

She was beautiful, loving, warm, sweet, sensible, and very deep. I took my kids to see her last week, and she was so delighted with them -- she was good at delighting in things, and people.

She went very fast -- the hospice lady, who was with her at the end, thought that it might take days of struggle, instead of under an hour. But I think Jeanne, where others fight the end, said: "Oh... my train is here! Goodbye! Goodbye!"

(My mom was telling family stories at her bedside, and after one about how Grandma Jeanne had as usual prevailed with sweetness and mild persuasion over Grandpa Charlie's hotheaded insistence on something, I asked: "Did she always get her way?" and Mom thought a little bit and said, "well, she was so good at accepting things, that when she didn't get her way, it became her way.")

I was very lucky to have her for a grandmother, and that she stuck around so long. She was ninety-six.

Posted by benrosen at April 3, 2007 12:35 PM | Up to blog

Sorry to hear. Hope you all get through this time.

Posted by: Trent at April 3, 2007 01:39 PM

Good on you, Jeanne. Judging by the few I knew, you had a hell of a family.


Posted by: Matt Hulan at April 3, 2007 01:46 PM

My condolences to you and yours.

Posted by: Scott Janssens at April 3, 2007 01:57 PM

Sorry to hear of your loss, but you paint a wonderful picture. I hope that peace comes quickly to you and yours during this season of remembrance.

Posted by: Mindy Klasky at April 3, 2007 10:32 PM

So sorry for your loss, Ben.

Posted by: TIm Pratt at April 4, 2007 01:31 PM

I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I just lost my own Grandma Jeanne a few months ago at age 88 (her, not me).

She was an intelligent, opinionated woman--a writer, artist, and peace activist who traveled extensively and lived life to the fullest.

We thought she would have appreciated that we put a completely false item in her obituary, saying that she had been a child vaudeville star under the name "Baby Jeannie, the Living Doll"!

My warmest thoughts are with you and your family; you were indeed lucky to have such a person to grow up knowing.

Posted by: Jenne at April 4, 2007 03:13 PM

I never new my own Grandma Jeanne - though I was named for her. I love the image of her saying "Oh... my train is here! Goodbye! Goodbye!".. it is such a positive begining of new things image - rather than an end.

Love and Peace... Jeanne

Posted by: Jeanne at April 4, 2007 04:00 PM

Dearest Bendiforous,

I'm sorry to hear of your loss, but a part of me is joyous--not at her death, of course---but that, at the saddest time, you have wonderful stories and beautiful memories, so much so that you can share a little bit of her spirit in a few short words...

I hope that, in a million moments or so, when my time is up, I'm able to say, "Oh... my train is here! Goodbye! Goodbye!"

Much love to you and yours...

Posted by: glynda at April 5, 2007 12:40 AM

Very sorry, Ben. But be glad you knew her; my own grandparents all died in their sixties, so I never had the chance to know them after I became an adult. And of course, as a kid, I didn't appreciate them... :-(

Posted by: Mary Anne Mohanraj at April 5, 2007 07:18 AM

Aw, this one got me all choked up.

Posted by: Haddayr at April 5, 2007 04:07 PM

I only read this now. I am sorry. It is great to have had grandparents that were so loved and to have been able to introduce them to one's children. She had a lucky life.

Posted by: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan at April 13, 2007 03:56 PM
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