I began a short story a couple months ago, after receiving news from my mother-in-law that my grandmother-in-law, Polly, was moved into hospice care living due to her declining health. Life got super busy, as always seems to be the excuse with me, and I abandoned the post that I began, only to revisit it this morning and realize it isn’t accurate anymore. While hospice was the current state of our little Polly’s life at the time (I think it was around February), how things have changed since then. Polly took a sharp turn into the great decline after she entered hospice, only lasting a few more weeks before she passed away. I wanted to provide an update on her when I initially penned this piece and now I find myself drafting a final farewell to the youngest, most vibrant, old lady I ever knew.
At the time of her death, Polly was an energetic, whipper-snapper at the ripe age of 96. She lived a beautiful life, much of which I have documented in other tales about her and Bob’s great love, their joyful family of four children, as well as life as a military wife, and the fact that she welcomed me with open arms and true warm love into her family. Polly could feel the love Hugo had for me, and I for him, and because of that, she consistently blessed our relationship with her overwhelming approval and support as she accepted me as her own grandchild. I really loved Polly and as I noticed her penciled-in birthday on our calendar next week, I sadly realized I won’t be sending her annual card this year.
In addition to being a exceptionally positive and loving human being, Polly was also a fine example of strength in women. Raised in the American 1920s, where women were second to men in relationships and the workforce, she had a strong will and opinion. Her bold voice was not silenced based on being female and I personally observed her as the boss of her marriage and entire family. While I only knew her during the final two decades of her life, I have a strong feeling she never shied away from speaking her mind and pursuing her dreams. I love and admire women like her, particularly those who were not born into a world where that female behavior was the norm or necessarily acceptable in their father’s eyes. It was probably an uphill battle for Polly, as well as my own grandmother Louise, who raised my mom the same. From Grannie Lou (as I, her only grandchild, dubbed her) and Polly, to my mom, Hugo’s mom, and I, it is easy to see how the wild fire of fierce femininity was born, raised, nurtured, and repeated throughout our generations in both families. And I love it.
While I know this isn’t true of everyone, everywhere, I do feel that the quality of people is significantly declining as we inch our way through the year 2020. The deep love for her spouse and family, and her zest for life even on the rainiest of days, were two of Polly’s strongest and most attractive qualities, both of which seem to be severely lacking in this generation of ‘woke’. I am mad that I just wrote that sentence but even more upset at the sheer fact it is raw truth.
Polly was and is a beautiful spirit. Her light shines through in Hugo’s eyes, as I see those same wonderful parts pop out of him. Not only did he learn to live and love from his parents and grandparents, it is also in his blood. Sometimes I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about Hugo that makes him such a perfectly blissful husband but based on all of my research and field experience in the world of loving this man, I am going to chalk it up to his umami being just right and, quite frankly, delicious. And for that, I celebrate those who came before him, as they are the ingredients from which he was baked, and I say thank you. Polly – we love you and you are missed.