Here's a somewhat "generational" picture: Grandma, my mom, me, and Danae.
Remembering is a good thing...
An Old Irish Blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Here's something my brother James wrote. I think it completely encompasses who Grandma was.
September 22, 2006 - Friday
On September 18th, 2006, Monday morning, my grandma died. She was a month and a half shy of 96 years old. When someone that old dies one is obligated to say things about how she had such a long life and it was her time. No time is ever right to lose someone the caliber of my grandma. She was the cornerstone that held together 4 generations of living Markey's. There is now a void inside every one of my family members who had the honor of knowing her.
She was born Bessie McKernan and died Elizabeth Francis Markey. She was the last survivor of 4 siblings (Celia, John and Helen) who spent their early 20's living through the depression. She was born, raised and died in Brooklyn , New York . She married in 1936 to my grandpa, Henry Markey, to whom she bore 2 sons; my uncle Joseph and my father James. The next generation bore 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grand children for my grandma. Since 1970, my grandma lived alone in a small apartment on 4th Avenue and Prospect Avenue . She lived there for over 40 years. It was only in the last 2 years of her life that she required a caretaker named Zelena to be there for her to accomplish some tasks. There are the basic details.
What an obituary in the newspaper won't tell you is how despite the fact that she lived alone, she was never by herself. Family surrounded my grandma for every day of her life. She went to every wedding, held every grand and great-grand child, and attended every funeral up to the time when she was no longer able. Most people have a few years on the down slope before they die. My grandma took 2 weeks. She was always smiling, always laughing, always loving. The last my dad remembers of her being sick was 1964 and she never took any kind of medicine in her life. She was a life-long devoted Irish-Catholic who even in her 2-week decline still attempted to recite the Rosary when her priest made a house call. Despite being physically assaulted and mugged in her apartment at the age of 90 refused to move in with someone for the proceeding 5 years. No one could meet her and then not be thought of as a friend. She was the type of person to flirt with the waiter at a restaurant and watch reruns of Knots Landing with her caretaker. She was energetic and sharp of mind up until those 2 weeks that resulted in her death.
No simple words can describe her. These words do not even begin to do her life justice. I had the privilege of having my grandma for 22 years. At the point I was born she had already lived 73 years of a life that cannot be summarized or explained with a single paragraph. Four generations of my family now have to look to each other for strength, when before we simply looked to Grandma Markey.