I went to a friend's Birthday celebration yesterday and missed the phone call my parents made to inform me that my grandmother, Jean Beekman, had passed away on Sunday night. In fact, I did not get the message until this morning. The message did not come as a shock, as her health had been steadily and painfully declining for some time. A sudden affliction of mouth cancer more than two years ago had left her with no choice but to be fed intravenously. This severely limited her mobility as she had to be fed three hours for every meal every day. My grandmother was a woman of great strength and courage, but she was only able to hold off the effects of such a prolonged battle for so long.
The entire ordeal was very difficult for my grandfather, especially in the last few months. My aunts and uncles and my mother also had quite a bit of pain and worry. Her death, which occurred peacefully while she was sleeping, relieves the pain of watching her suffer. Although we have comfort in knowing she has moved on to a place of incomparable joy and beauty, we still mourn the loss of the joy and beauty she brought to our lives. She survived the Depression and the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, she struggled alongside her husband to cobble a life together in a new land, she reached a level of assurance with the English language that few immigrants master, she raised five children, found great joy in spoiling all eight of her grandchildren, and she even had the opportunity to hold her first great-grandchild, Owen Langelaar. My grandmother was a Scrabble champion, a great chef, a loving mother and grandmother, and a woman whose strength of spirit was only surpassed by her love for her family and friends.
Grandma, I miss you so much.