We lost my dad nearly ten years ago, and my grandma has lost most of her mobility and a lot of her short term memory. Still, we bring her out to my mom's house for that week. It's difficult--but worth it. At 97 she represents a generation that, for the most part, is gone now. Over the years I've listen to her stories and written them down. I've done my best to keep her history alive--and make sure my daughters have plenty of memories of their own. We owe a debt to those who paved the way for us as we grew into adults. Giving back to that older generation by listening and spending time with them is the least we can do.
Family connections are a big part of my writing. Nearly every one of my ten books features extended family--parents, siblings, and in A Deadly Love, grandparents. My heroine, Brooke, moves to her grandmother's home in the redwoods when she discovers her elderly relative is struggling financially, and the two set out to turn her big, old house into a Bed and Breakfast. At the same time, my hero, Dillon, is dealing with a senile grandfather who lives like a hermit in a shack in the woods. Both characters show their strength and compassion through these relationships, and I hope, give the book more meaning and depth.
I thought I'd share a short excerpt with Brooke's grandma giving her granddaughter some sage advice. Enjoy!
June clicked off the TV with the remote. “I’m sure you two can work it out.”
“I burned that bridge, Grandma. Anyway, it isn’t like our relationship was going anywhere.” She swallowed against the hot lump in her throat. “Not that I wanted it to.”
“Oh, honey, you don’t fool me.” Her eyes softened. “You care about that man.”
Brooke blinked back tears. “I’ll get over him. Eventually.” She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. “I accepted Carter’s invitation to the black and white ball.”
Her grandmother’s lips firmed. “When I was young, girls didn’t keep company with one man when they had feelings for another. It made things simpler.”
She squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t know why I make it so hard. I really don’t.”
June stood and walked over to her chair. She laid her hand on Brooke’s shoulder. “You’re afraid of being hurt again. Carter is safe.”
“Maybe so.” She rested her cheek on her grandmother’s frail hand. “Men are overrated. Who needs them?”
June chuckled. “I’m afraid we do. The dishwasher was making a funny noise when I ran it earlier. I was going to ask Dillon to take a look at it.”
Brooke jumped to her feet. “We don’t need him. I’m a whiz with kitchen appliances.” She draped her arm around her grandmother’s thin shoulders and headed for the kitchen. “That dishwasher is no match for the two of us.”
Do you have an older relative who's been an inspiration? Please share.
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Great post, Jannine. I love how you tied it all together. Sadly, I lost my grandma when I was still in high school and too young to realize how very valuable she was in my life. Cherish what you have in yours. And best of luck with the 'creepy' book. I have my copy!
A truly inspiring post. You are so fortunate to have your grandmother still with you. So glad you wrote down her stories. What a treasure for your children and future descendents. My mother-in-law and her sister lived to be 102 and 100, respectively. They traveled to Europe in their 90s. What stamina.
Lovely post, Jannine. Thanks for sharing some family photos, too. My maternal grandmother died before I was born. I have some memories of my paternal grandma as she'd come to stay with us for a few weeks at a time. At night she'd undo the knot of hair in the back of her head and brush her long, grey tresses. Then, without fail, she'd get on her ol' arthritic knees, like a child by her bed and say her bedtime prayers. This one action is my most cherished memory of her. Thanks for calling forth that memory for me. Hugs.
Margo, I know how lucky I am! Thanks.
Wow, traveling in your 90's is impressive, Diane. My grandma fell and broke her leg a little over a year ago. Hard to recover from that at her age.
What a great memory, Vonnie. Glad I could bring it back for you.
Jannine, we're clearly on the same page. Wait til you read my post Thursday. My grandmother lived to be 98 and was a huge part of my life.
That's awesome, Alison. Grandma says if she makes it to 100, she's going to Disneyland. LOL
lovely post. I remember so much about my grandparents. I tell my children and hope they will share, too.
Hi Barbara, It's important to pass those stories along.
I think it's wonderful that you're taking the time to write down your grandmother's stories. Those first-hand accounts are precious.
Thanks Leah. They definitely are.
Love this post, Jannine. My grandparents are all gone now, and I so wish I'd sat down with them and documented their stories. Absolutely priceless! My ex-husband's grandmother, who we called NanNan, was a precious wonderful person (we didn't divorce until after her death) and I took my kids to see her every weekend. She cherished those visits, as did I. But again, I didn't document her stories. That lady had an extremely interesting life, so I certainly wish I had.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention. I love your story, as you well know ;-), and I adore the relationship between Brooke and her grandmother. Your strong sense of family really comes through in your writing.
Thanks, Ally. I took lots of notes on my grandparents' lives while I was in my genealogy phase. Now I'm so glad I did because grandma can't always remember the order in which things happened. It's all about taking the initiative before it's too late.
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