Last week I lost a very special person. Evelyn, my sweet granny said goodbye to us one last time. And as my heart breaks, I console myself with my precious memories. I am reminded of how blessed I am to have had 29 years with such an amazing person.
Growing up, I can’t say with conviction that I looked forward to weekly piano lessons. Honestly, the saving grace of the experience was getting to go to Granny’s house after school and sneak in a few extra minutes of last minute practice. She would always get us an afternoon snack and sit in the piano room listening. Whether we were perfecting a piece or struggling to hit the right notes, she was there pushing us to do our best and try.
Years down the road, I gained a strong appreciation of those lessons particularly when I got the joy of listening to Chopin or Schumann of my own accord on some old ivory keys, at a friend’s house perhaps, or maybe an old cafe. Even once, I was asked to play in a famous coffee shop in Vienna, the Café Sperl, which in fact was a travel destination recommended by Granny. Before I embarked on my first European trip, we sat down together and went over the must see points of interest. I debated Venice or Vienna for a week long side trip, and with much certainty she said I must visit Austria! I took an overnight train from Germany and my best friend and I awoke to a city of old- world beauty and elegance. We saw Schonbrunn Palace and wandered the exquisite summer gardens. I was so utterly thrilled to be following in Granny’s travel footsteps.
To me, Granny embodied the absolute definition of culture and sophistication, attributes that I grew up striving to achieve and embrace as she had done her whole life. Visits with Granny through the years for me involved taking afternoon tea, absolutely in English fashion and discussing travel, school, and everything in between. In 2007, I graduated from Centenary College and joined the alumni ranks along with Granny. Education was so important to her, another common thread between us. Last year, I donned cap and gown to receive my PhD. For this very important day for me she was there. It meant so much to me. I hope she knows that she played such a large role in helping shape my education and path.
I found out Sunday morning that she had quietly left us in the night. I wasn’t sure what do to. Sadness and darkness overcame me in stark contrast to the brilliant sun that engulfed Colorado. In her honor, Thomas and I decided to climb somewhere beautiful. She loved travel, nature and photography, all things that we embrace too. We ventured outside the city to South Table Mountain in Golden, CO. The climb was short but very steep. When we reached the top, the beauty and immensity of the views brought tears to my eyes. Granny is in a better place now. I feel that in my heart. I like to think that it looks something like our travels.