Friday, January 28, 2011

A Treasured Story

The girls' paternal grandfather, Norm Edwards, past away last week, after a two-year struggle with brain cancer.

A commercial fisherman and fisheries advocate, he loved to keep up on the news. Whenever he and Lynda, his wife, came to our home to visit, he always had a bag jam-packed with paper. Reports, fisheries journals, correspondence, magazines, his planner/journal, scriptures, next sunday's lesson plan, and a legal pad. Usually the bag was never opened during their brief stays, but he was always ready to work.

At the dinner table last month, I asked Norm if he had any interest in having us read to him from that trusty stack of stuff, as his eyesight and hand strength declined. He replied, with a grin, "they have been filed away." The filing cabinet being a large trash receptacle. Lynda was standing behind him nodding confidently.

Nothing of import or history was thrown out, but Norm was keen on keeping every bit of print dealing with his love of the sea. We joke with Norm that his office should have been roped off as an archealogical dig, as we frequently endeavored to find the top of his desk hidden under his intricate piles of files. Still, even to his last days of using his hands, and cooperative eyesight, he was managing a pen, trying to write or doing his best to read.

There is lots of cleaning out happening here in New York. Norm's closet, the garage, the basement. Sacred moments as treasured objects pass from one generation to another. As we pack to depart, Sam describes the newest contents of our bags: Norm's workshirts, blazers, pins and tie-tacks. I do not know yet how I will be able to see those things in our closet without stopping to remember.

Norm was a keeper. Truly a keeper of all things that were good. And he adored his grandchildren. And he had a special connection with Esra.  In fact, the day Esra was born, she heard and saw Norm before she and I met. Their bond was unbreakable. He would have been excited for her today, as her story of light and love is spread in the most recent edition of BYU Magazine. I wish I could have given him this lovely publication, to tuck into his backpack.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Esra and Estelle had a chance to see many of their cousins this Christmas season.  It wasn't the best of circumstances, as all of Sam's siblings came to Arizona to see their mom and dad, most especially their dad, Norm, who was at the end of a two-year struggle with brain cancer. Each of us served in different ways.  While Sam's sister served her parents, we helped her by watching her little one.  Both of my girls loved having their little cousin to pal around with.  Great memories.

I am actually writing this in frigid, snow-bound New York after a glorious week of memories as we said good-bye to Norm.  The last six weeks have been difficult as we adjusted to this inevitable moment when he would no longer be with us.  With all of Sam's siblings and their spouses here, we have found renewed connection and friendship.  It was wonderful to prepare for the funeral together.  Sam delivered the eulogy, and we all were able to perform some lovely music at the funeral, as well.

We have been blessed with the great support of extended family.  Especially Norm's cousins in Amagansett.  We are grateful for their love and generosity as we move through this period of mourning.