Today the world lost a shining light. Marie Joyce Elward, my grandmother who was always called “Gigi” by her family, left us to join her husband, Mel, and her many friends who have gone before her to the Beyond.
My family and I had gone up to visit her in her home, and were joined by my mother and my aunt. We all spent time sitting and talking with Gigi (who had long since slipped in to a coma, but we spent quite a lot of time talking to her anyway) for some time before we decided to head out. My family towards home and my mom and aunt to lunch. None of us were gone long before the nurse called to let us know that she had passed.
Opinions vary as to whether she just wanted some peace and quiet in her house so that she could get on with getting on; or if she was the consummate hostess until the end: she couldn’t leave until all of her guests had!
There are so many things that I wish I could say . . . I wish I had the words to share with you who my grandmother genuinely was . . . but nothing that I say will really do her the justice that she deserves. I could talk again like I did yesterday about how she had a generosity of spirit which drew others to her and invited a loyalty which I have never seen in any others. I could talk again about how she was (very) briefly the 1951 Miss Colorado. About how she taught me my first dirty joke. Or about how even when she was at the end of her life, she was making sure her caretaker nurse’s family was comfortable in her home.
But really when it comes down to it, she was one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. I would have counted myself extraordinarily blessed to have even known her. The fact that I got to have her as my kin, and to know that I have her blood running in my veins and those of my children . . . well, blessed only barely suffices.
Gigi is survived by her daughter, Chris (Tom) Rhodes; son, Brad (Janet) Mooneyham; step-son Doug (Ruth) Elward; and step-daughter Pam Elward (Brian Hager). She also had 4 Grandchildren, 6 Great-Grandchildren, and uncountable and un-namable others who consider her family.