Measuring the Mark of a Life

Solstice is a moment of transition. The cycling of seasons is a time for conclusions and embarcations. Stories end. New tales begin.

The advent of winter coincides with my grandmother’s passing.

My feelings of regret and loss are profound. I wish I’d known her better. At the same time I celebrate her long life, her zest for learning, and the joy she found in creative efforts. She was a painter, a weaver, an explorer, and a visionary. Her life was characterized by seeking out answers, looking for puzzles, and learning about everything.

Longevity has blessed my family. I’m fortunate to remember all four of my grandparents…and blessed to still have both on the maternal side. So many years of history and experiences shared. So much lost with each life. 

How do you measure the impact of a life?

For my grandmother, it might be in the number of students who found themselves touched by her love of teaching. Some of them went on to become renowned artists in their own right. Surely it can be found in appreciation of the art pieces she created and exhibited over many decades. Certainly it can be measured in the lives of her three children, her seven grandchildren, and fourteen great grandchildren. Her legacy is broad.

My grandmother’s actions in life taught me:

– no task is too daunting to undertake
– interesting questions demand answers
– every desire is worth examining
– curiosity is compelling
– alone doesn’t have to mean lonely
– whatever you can do, you should
– live without regret
– try everything you’re tempted to experience

– celebrating your achievements is fine
– giving does not mean only sharing wealth
– memory fails, record the things that matter

– life doesn’t stop, even when you do

The finality of death is never easy to grasp. Life is fragile and time takes away all things. Loss is difficult. Each person must forge their own path through grief. I choose to celebrate rather than mourn her passing.

Safe journey, Grandma.


  1. #1 by Debra Kristi on December 21, 2011 - 4:22 pm

    Beautifully written Lesann. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your grandmother sounds like a great woman. Her legacy will definitely carry on through her children and grandchildren. I’m sure you have made her very proud. 🙂

    • #2 by Leslie on December 22, 2011 - 8:29 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Debra.

  2. #3 by Tammy on January 1, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    Beautifully written and so true. Jean made a difference in my life. I’m so glad your dad shared his parents with me.

    • #4 by Leslie on January 1, 2012 - 6:45 pm

      Thanks Tammy. I have a lot of great memories and don’t we always wish for more. I’m glad you stopped by.

  3. #5 by Mom on January 1, 2012 - 1:39 pm

    Beautiful words from a beautiful daughter. Thank you.

    • #6 by Leslie on January 1, 2012 - 6:45 pm

      Thanks Mom & Dad.

  4. #7 by Angela on January 1, 2012 - 11:27 pm

    Lovely thoughts of a true lady. No one ever met Mrs. Berry without leaving with a new friend in their life. She will be missed.

    • #8 by Leslie on January 2, 2012 - 4:05 pm

      Thanks, Angela. I always remember her looking at every object as potential means of creating art. Bits of flotsam and jetsom took on new value because of her ability to imagine. I like to think I learned some of that from her. She will be missed.

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