Grandma Lucille

October 16, 2012

By Gabrielle.

My Grandma, Lucille Evans Pack, passed away. I got the call late last night. I grew up with 3 grandmas. And I am now grandma-less.

There was Grandma Daisy. She was my father’s stepmother, and she did most of the work of raising him. She was tall and strong and Italian and hardworking. I thought she would live forever, but in 2008 she was the first of the three to die. I couldn’t have been more surprised.

There was Grandma Rudi. She was my father’s birth mother. She was frank and opinionated. Jewish by culture but not religious. Loved the color yellow. You may remember she passed away a few weeks ago.

And there was Grandma Lucille. She’s my mother’s mother. Her great-grandkids called her Gigi. She was petite, stylish, beautiful, loved tiny objects, and part of her has been aching to die for 20 years — since her husband, Grandpa Lloyd, died of cancer. Lucille turned 96 in September. She lived a long full life and died of old age.

Grandma Lucille was my only Grandma that lived in my hometown, so she figures in many of my childhood memories. When we moved to St. George, it was tiny. One stoplight. The tallest building in town was the temple and it was visible from every spot in the valley. Grandma lived in a condo across the street from the temple and I remember being age 5, our family newly moved to town, and my mother instructing me that if I ever got lost, I just needed to walk to the Temple and I would find Grandma’s house. I found such comfort in those instructions!

Lucille raised 5 kids. One son and 4 daughters. I don’t know what Grandma would say was the most challenging thing in her life, but I always thought it must be raising Mary Lou. My Aunt Mary Lu was diagnosed with a severe case of paranoid schizophrenia when she was an adult. She’d had the shocking, confusing behaviors since she was a very young child, but there was no name for her disease — the mental health field was too new! Can you imagine? Trying to raise a very sick child with no guidance or understanding of her medical condition?

Mary Lou lived with my family when I was growing up so I was very familiar with her sickness. Every once in awhile I would imagine Mary Lou as a child and my heart would ache for the confusion both Grandma and Aunt Mary must have felt.

I have a million thoughts and stories about Grandma Lucille. How I would walk to her house after Super Steppers on Wednesdays and eat graham crackers (cinnamon topped!) and milk. How she sat with me in the lobby of the temple on the morning of my wedding and held my hands while I cried (a long story for another time). I’m in tears as I type.

Honestly, I’m having to compartmentalize my feelings right now. I’m still feeling overwhelmed from my Ethiopia trip. And I have commitments this week, a schedule I’m not able to change. So I’ll be thinking of Grandma during my quiet moments and look forward to the weekend where I can sit with my emotions for awhile.

Grandma was 96 and I know it was her time to die. But I still miss her.

P.S. — I couldn’t find an image of Lucille, so I chose this image of my mom and baby me instead. I’m thinking of my mom today. It’s hard to lose a parent no matter what your age is.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica October 17, 2012 at 12:31 am

I am sorry for your loss, and the loss your whole family is undoubtedly feeling. While there is peace in knowing your loved ones are in a better place, there are still those aches of missing them. I recently lost my last grandparent and your beautiful tribute touched me, thanks for sharing.


2 Caroline October 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

What beautiful and loving memories. Mes pensées vont vers vous et toute la famille.


3 Sara October 17, 2012 at 12:55 am

Thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this time and most importantly to your quiet thoughts. I know it is difficult to lose a loved one no matter what age, to this day thinking too much about my grandfather brings me to watershed tears. It has been 20 years and it still feels like a fresh wound.


4 Carlin October 17, 2012 at 2:11 am

I am so sorry for your loss. No matter the circumstances, no matter the age of the person, loss is loss. May your lovely memories of her sustain you while you mourn.


5 Mary October 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

Prayers go with you and your family.


6 Tasha October 17, 2012 at 4:03 am

Gabby – You and your family are in my prayers ♥
Thank you for sharing your story with us.
We celebrate her life with you today.
It is a huge loss, may you all find comfort this week .


7 Betsy October 17, 2012 at 4:29 am

My thoughts are with you and your children Gabrielle. Dealing with death is a very personal thing, so thank you for sharing your stories. We recently read ‘no matter what’ by Debi Gliori, and although it does deal with death (which I understand some parents may not like) we really appreciated it “love, like starlight, never dies”.


8 Hang October 17, 2012 at 4:36 am

May your grandma rest in peace.


9 S October 17, 2012 at 4:36 am

As a fellow expat I know your loss must be even extra hard for your right now because you are so far, far away from home. Be strong. You can be rest assured that your grandmother is looking over you right now and is incredibly proud of you, your family and everything else your wonderful family has created together and more. Remember she is with you, she will always be a part of you, she runs in your heart, your body and your memories. Here is the warmest hug the cyber world can let me give you right now…


10 Koseli October 17, 2012 at 5:04 am

So sorry for your loss, Gabby. Your grandmothers sounded delightful! It must be so hard being so far away. Love to you and your family. xx


11 Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux October 17, 2012 at 5:08 am

So sorry to hear about your loss. I loved reading your post…so many wonderful memories. It’s so amazing how people touch us in such special ways. Unfortunately in many cases, it’s when they pass or are diagnosed terminally ill that we truly appreciate who they are and who they have been for us. Cherish her memories and remember she will always be a part of you. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time.


12 Lauren D. October 17, 2012 at 5:26 am

My condolences, I recently lost a great grandmother (who was more like a mom to my mother than a grandmother.) Any loss is unfortunate and I am very sorry for your loss. Well wishes and uplifting energy your way.


13 Marcia (123 blog) October 17, 2012 at 5:36 am

I’m so sorry to read about your loss! Grandma Lucille sounds like she left a long and amazing family legacy!


14 Mo October 17, 2012 at 5:56 am

My condolences to you and your family. May your memory of her and times spent together comfort you in the days to come.


15 Ris October 17, 2012 at 6:44 am

OH Gabrielle I’m so sorry for your loss! I’m thinking about you and your sweet family today.


16 Azra October 17, 2012 at 7:01 am

Gabrielle, I am sorry for your loss. What a wonderful memories… I am thinking of you.


17 Amy Hackworth October 17, 2012 at 7:04 am

So sorry about your grandmother, Gabby. My heart hurts for you. I know that feeling of having to compartmentalize. Good luck with your busy week–I hope you find those quiet moments along the way, and that your weekend is sweet and healing. Love to you!


18 se7en October 17, 2012 at 7:05 am

Sending love across the world to all of you…


19 Sharon @ Discovering Blog October 17, 2012 at 7:09 am

Oh, I’m so sorry. There is something so special about Grandmas. I don’t think we really appreciate them until we are older, and then we miss them forever when they leave us.


20 Margie October 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

I’m sorry for your loss. Enjoy your quiet moments, a good cry and a long bath.


21 Barchbo October 17, 2012 at 7:30 am

My condolences to you and your family, Gabrielle. In the pre-dawn this morning I’ve been thinking about how special grandparents are. Take good care of yourself today.


22 amyks October 17, 2012 at 7:32 am

So sorry for your loss, Gabrielle…grandmas are definitely special people.


23 Melinda October 17, 2012 at 7:38 am

It is so difficult to say good bye to the people we love. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


24 alexis_gentry October 17, 2012 at 7:54 am

Oh, Gabrielle. Losing a grandparent is so…difficult. My grandpa died last January after a long illness, and although I know it was time, I still ride the roller coaster of grief at unexpected times. Often I’ll be telling my kids a funny and endearing story about Grandpa Howard and then finish it with a teary grin. My love to you and your family.


25 Miggy October 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

That was a beautiful tribute to your grandma. There is something very special about grandparents–adults who love you fiercely, but who aren’t your parents, who tend to let the little rules slide more –such a special relationship. Hugs to you.


26 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay October 17, 2012 at 8:01 am

I am so sorry to hear your sad news. What a great loss for you. You and your family will be in my prayers today.


27 Maryann October 17, 2012 at 8:02 am

I am so sorry for your loss.


28 Robin Troxell October 17, 2012 at 8:08 am

So sorry for you to go through the loss of two grandmas so recently. I know its hard to grieve when you are so busy but try to take care of yourself. hugs!


29 jen October 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

i am so sorry to hear this. i only had one grandma and it saddens me everyday that she was not able to meet the little family i have made for myself and i remember all too well the pain of losing her. i couldn’t imagine doing it three times over – especially twice so close together. i hope you have time to find a place to reflect and have a cry for i think living to 96 deserves a few tears and some heartache. xo


30 Rebecca October 17, 2012 at 8:21 am

I feel for you Gabrielle, loss is never easy. My paternal Grandma passed away last month, she was also 96. I was travelling with my family at the time and a trip back to Australia (from Italy) was unfortunately not an option. To not be there to say goodbye is very hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you x


31 amy c October 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

Sorry for your loss Gabrielle. Thank you for sharing about your wonderful grandmas. Losing loved ones is never easy, even if they lived a blessedly long life. Their absence is still sad.
Thinking of you and your family.


32 allysha October 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

I lost both of my grandmas in the space of a few months. It is an odd feeling. All of your grandmas sound wonderful. Thinking of you, today.


33 Sara October 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. My mom’s mom passed away last fall and I was unable to go be with my family (and felt sorry for myself). But I love the memories I have of my Granny Lil. Helps me to strive to be a good mom.

I pray for God’s peace and comfort for you and your family at this time.


34 Sarah October 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

So sorry for your loss. Praying for peace an conform for you and your family.


35 Summer October 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’m so sorry, Gabrielle. On the bright side, how lucky were you – you got to spend so much time with them and shared so many life memories with them! That’s also very touching about your aunt.

My grandparents all died when I was 13 & 14 (although they were in their 80′s, 90′s). I’m sad that I never got to ask them any of the questions I now would as an adult.


36 Andrea Freeman October 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. My son calls my mom Gigi too. All I can say is how blessed you are to have your grandmother in your life for so long…my thoughts are with you and your family.


37 steph t. October 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

hugs to you…
you know she had a full and happy life and you know she’s in a better place…
but you mourn her passing b/c she was so special to you.
a hard place to be…
i know.
thinking and praying for you!


38 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity October 17, 2012 at 9:41 am

I”m so sorry to hear of the loss of your grandmother – and so fast on the heels of your other grandmother passing away. I know it is never easy but I hope you are able to dwell on the good memories you have of her.


39 Natasha October 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

I am so sorry!


40 Leah October 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

I’m so sorry to hear of the loss.

My grandmother was also named Lucille. She died of Lou Gerhig’s disease when I was about 9 months old. I love when my dad tells stories about her. When I was little I used to think she could hear me if I talked to her. My version of praying :).

I named my daughter Lucille Jean.


41 Daffodil October 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

This is such a beautiful remembrance of your grandmother, Gabrielle. My thoughts will be with you and your family now and in the days and weeks ahead. I will be thinking of your grandmother holding your hands on the morning of your wedding — I can’t think of a more touching sight. What a treasure she must be to you!


42 Elizabeth October 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

What a beautiful tribute to your dear grandmother. Thank you for sharing a bit of her with us, and I send you comforting thoughts and prayers as you mourn her.


43 Allison Baker October 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

Sweet Gabrielle,
So sorry for your loss today. Hoping that the comfort of eternal family bonds will rest in your family and your heart this week. Thank you for what you do, what you share, who you are. It is such a pleasure to read your blog and enjoy your children (LOVE Olive Us!!). Best wishes, Allison.


44 Kristen E October 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

Prayers to you and your family. I can imagine how devastating the loss is, and I’m thinking of my own grandmother today too, as she passed away 3 years ago today. The upside is that she’ll never really leave you – I think about my grandmother all the time and I can always imagine how she’d respond when I want to talk to her. I’m so sorry for your loss.


45 Mara {A Blog About Love} October 17, 2012 at 10:40 am

Gabrielle- you have the biggest heart. Reading this just touched me so much. Thanks for sharing this tender post. May you and your family be surrounded by love and good memories during this time.


46 julia g blair October 17, 2012 at 10:44 am

Thanks millions for your beautiful tribute to your lovely Grandma Lucille. She’s
the same age that Ben’s Grandma Groberg was when she left. How truly marvelous each of your Grandmas have been. How wonderful that you knew all three. And you really did knew them and loved them and appreciated them and learned from them.
It’s a precious blessing to grow up with grandparents around.

Love and prayers and sincere sympathy, Gabby, darling!


47 KelliK October 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

Just know that you have lots of freindship and love here! I wish you the best to manage over the next week and ones to follow.


48 kristi October 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

Thank you for sharing your lovely words and memories. Sending you comfort and wishing you peace. I am sorry for your loss.


49 Kinga Bereczki October 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

May your memories give you strength!


50 Kristy October 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Oh Gabby, my heart goes out to you and your family. Your grandma sounds like a wonderful woman. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. Prayers and good luck to you this week!


51 Robin k October 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm

A sweet tender post, Gabby. Thinking of you and all your family. Love you.


52 G at willowday October 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family


53 julia g blair October 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Caught my embarrassing grammatical error! Maybe it was just a typo! That’s a good excuse! Hope you have a wonderful trip. Try to sleep on the plane!


54 Kjersten October 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Gabby I am so sorry for your loss. Your Grandma was such a neat lady. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.


55 tere October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I’m so sorry! Keep telling us and everybody how lovely she was, big hug.


56 Wendy and tyler October 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

We are sorry to hear this news, Gabby and family. You are in our thoughts!


57 Tanya H October 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Gabrielle–what a beautiful and moving tribute to your grandmother. The best way to honor the person she was to you, is to pass along the love she gave you and lessons she taught. May happy memories of your grandmother bring warmth and light while you travel through your steps of grieving. So sorry for your family’s loss.


58 Kimberly October 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm

My warmest thoughts and prayers to you, and to “Mom in Mendon.”


59 Moran October 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm

What a beautiful post. So touching.


60 Sara October 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm

So sorry for your sadness and losing your precious grandmother. I hope you are able to connect with your family, even if you can’t in person, to share your memories and help with the loss to you all. What a beautiful tribute.


61 Lynn October 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

It is never easy losing a grandma. I have been grandma-less since I was 13. I still think about them every day and tear up when I tell stories about them to my children. She would have loved my kids and my husband. You are very lucky to have had 3 grandmas as long as you did (I’m sure you already know that!). So sorry for your loss.


62 Christina October 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I loved reading the recollections of your grandma- what an amazing woman. And I loved seeing the picture of you with your mom. Your littles look so much like you as a child! Wishing you comfort during this difficult time.


63 Tiffany October 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm

My heart aches for with you. So sorry to hear about your loss. I met your Grandma a handful of times- and Mary Lou. She was a sweetheart. Big hug to you and your mother- love your mother as well. She was a major influence for good on me as a youth leader.


64 Robin and Mark October 18, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Oh Gabby,
I haven’t talked with your mom and only learned about Lucille’s passing on your blog. As you did for Daisy and Rudi, you did a wonderful job of sharing some of the really special things I remember about Lucille. I wish we could give hugs to all of you.


65 Amy3 October 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I’m sorry for your loss. You have wonderful memories of your grandmother and that’s a real blessing.

I grew up with three grandparents too (my mother’s father died when I was 3). My father’s parents died within months of each other when they were 99 (grandfather) and 90 (grandmother). My mother’s mother lived to be 100. Due to circumstances outside my control, I wasn’t able to attend any of their funerals or memorial services. I still feel so sad about this many years later.

I wish you and your family peace.


66 TracieMcOB October 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I miss my grandmothers often. I had 3 also. I thought that picture must be you. It looks to much like your youngest, June to me.


67 Erin October 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

That was a lovely tribute. Even when a death is expected, it’s hard to wrap our heads (and hearts!) around it. May your many memories help you smile through the tears.


68 Stephanie October 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Gabby, I can totally see bits of you in your Grandma Lucille. So fun to see that. And I have to tell you that my Grandparents lived across the street from the temple too…in a condo. In fact, my grandpa still lives there, alone. When we visited and I could never remember the address, I just followed the roads that led to the temple and found their home as well. Thank you for sharing your memories…


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