Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving thanks

Grandma Mildred in her garden

Things have been quiet at the Haus Sisters Vegan (+JP) lately. School, health, and family things have been keeping us busy. But I wanted to make a quick post, because this Thanksgiving is going to be a little different for us this year.

My grandma, my mom's mom, passed away on October 11th. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August, and a few months later, she was gone. It's been really hard for everyone, but especially my mom, my aunt, and my cousin. They were taking care of Grandma (and my Grandpa), and the rest of us, too. I may have made over 12 dozen cookies for the memorial service, but mom, Joanne, and Michelle were the ones to talk to the doctor, Grandma's pastor, and relatives. The hard parts.

Grandma Mildred was a very special person. She was kind, supportive, funny, loving, strong-willed, and a wonderful cook and baker. More than one speaker at her memorial service mentioned her blackberry pie, myself included. Even though I don't think she really understood it, she was super awesome about me being vegan, and made her signature rolls and berry pies with vegetable-based shortening instead of butter for me. How lucky were we?! She always always made sure there was food we could eat, even driving all the way out to Whole Foods in Petaluma one time for us. Grandma Mildred supported her children and grandchildren unwaveringly, despite our flaws, and I think that's why we all turned out alright. (It may also be the reason why she had so many grey hairs on her head...I'm looking at you mom! ;)

I feel like of all the parts of me, as much as I constantly struggle to define who I am and come up with no answers, the parts of my life that have Grandma in them make sense, and those parts are solid and reassuring, and make the rest of the puzzle pieces fall into place around them.

This will be our first Thanksgiving without Grandma. I haven't felt the loss as hard as I do right now. But out of this loss came the amazing realization of how much my mom's side of the family loves and supports each other through loss and hardship, how awesome it is to have these super-awesome women and men in my life, and no matter what, I can count on them. Especially in contrast to my dad's relatives. I also discovered that I have a really great group of friends in the Bay Area and Oregon (and elsewhere!) who care for me and that I can count on them, too.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, even though it's been one of the hardest of my life. Thank you, readers, for making this blog so fun. Thank you, friends and family, for being there for me. Thank you, Kelly and JP, for hugging me when I come home.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! We're making what is now the traditional vegan dish of Pumpkin & Black Bean Casserole (this year made with butternut squash), and the (vegan) Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Cranberries from last month's issue of Vegetarian Times. We'll report back.

(Grandma didn't like to have pictures taken of her, so I couldn't find any of her in the kitchen, but the one above is of her in just a small portion of her AMAZING beautiful and bountiful garden, and the one below is from Thanksgiving of last year.)

Thanksgiving 2008


Warrior Two said...

That's a lovely story. Carry her spirit forward!

dreaminitvegan said...

Sorry for your loss.

What a wonderful grandmother you had and someday you can pass on the many memories of her to your kids.
It sounds like you have much to be thankful for. Enjoy your thanksgiving your grandmother would want you to. :)

Fallen said...

Just beautiful. I had to stop reading for a few because I started crying. Not sure if it's the pregnant hormones or the fact it makes me think of my grandmother.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

What a beautiful post! You know I am here for you. XO!

Debra said...

Happy Thanksgiving!
Debra @ Vegan Family Style
ps check out the cookbook giveaway on my blog

BitterSweet said...

I hope that you have the best Thanksgiving possible- This was such a beautiful post. :)

Andrew said...

Dear friend,
In order to spread and disseminate the information contained in the latest report from the the World Watch Institute, "the 51% campaign" has been launched by an animal and environmental protection organization.
The organizers wish to inform those attending Copenhagen that 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions are from the livestock sector, it is for this goal that they have created the website

If you visit the solutions page there are various actions you can take, for example the 2nd solution allows you to send a letter to a number of the EPA officials and environment minister worldwide. You can also add a 51% banner to your blog or website.
So in the run up to Copenhagen, please visit
and send a letter to those attending COP15 and spread this website to your friends and Family!

a-k said...

This was beautiful to read... sad but also inspiring. Holidays still make me sad about losing my mom but I've grown to celebrate her through cooking, which is what she taught me. Your grandma sounded like an awesome person!

Mihl said...

This was a wonderful post Meg! I hope you and your family had the most awesome Thanksgiving!

Erin said...

Meg - So sorry to hear about your grandma. That was a really nice post. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!