Monday, January 30, 2006

In Memory: Grandma Dorothy

My grandmother Dorothy died last week of heart complications arising from a hip surgery. She was 86 years old, strikingly beautiful, imaginative, a dedicated matriarch, a collector of ceramic bluebirds, precise about her cottage and its grounds, as well as fond of entertaining guests, traveling, dining out, and gaming at the riverboats in Kansas City.

Grandma Dorothy also was the inspiration for one of my short stories, "The Naked Truth," which appeared in an anthology titled In My Grandmother's House: Award-Winning Writers Tell Stories About Their Grandmothers edited and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (HarperCollins, 2003).

I had the honor of giving her eulogy at the memorial service on Saturday. It's a task that often falls to writers in a family, and my experience has been no exception. It's tremendously personal, emotionally draining, and yet also a welcome opportunity to use years of craft to offer tangible comfort to those closest. I'm grateful that when there are no words, some seem to find me anyway, if only out of training and love.