Thursday, July 12, 2007
Delores J Davey
November 18, 1930 - July 4, 2007
I've tried to write this post several times in the last week. It's hard to explain the relationship I had with my Grandma. She was such a huge part of my life and family, it is hard to imagine that someone who only weighed in at 80lbs at the end of her life could take up so much room.
My Grandmother didn't have the happiest childhood. She obviously felt disconnected from her mother and stepfather. I think it's because of this that she worked so incredibly hard and pushed her limits farther than anyone I have met. One huge example, 41 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. During that 41 year stretch she was lucky enough to have one period where she went 5 years cancer free. Her second bout of cancer, 2 years after her first bout, she was told that she should prepare for death because they didn't expect her to live another 3 months. Well that was unacceptable, she was never going to die! She wouldn't even let her chemo treatments get in the way of everyday life. She used to go early in the morning to have her chemo, by herself of course because god forbid anyone see her in a frail state, then go to work and work a full day. She believed that if you just kept pushing yourself and stayed positive then it would all work out. Up until a few days before her death she was determined that she would get better. She wanted to call her old doctor so she could tell him he needed to "get on the ball and help me get better". She was furious when the hospice nurse told her that trying to get out of bed to exercises was not the best idea. Even after she was mostly gone and she would mumble things that no one but she understood, it was obvious that she was pushing her body to go on. Her body decided it was done at 11:30 am on July 4th. Freedom from her sickly body. In her normal fashion, she waited until we all happened to be out of the room for a split second, she wouldn't want us to see her in a weak moment after all.
During all this cancer fighting she managed to start a career in the early 60's, in fact she was the bread winner of the household. She steadily moved up the chain at US West and became the manager of all government/state contracts for the pacific northwest. She decided to retire in 86 but within a few months she was talking about starting her own business. She and 2 other gentlemen form Shared Communication Services, Inc. During their extremely successful 13 year run my grandmother was awarded Oregon's Business Woman of the Year and the company won Oregon's Fastest Growing Small Business. They sold the company for more money then I can imagine. The biggest reason for their success, my Grandmothers commitment to customer service and her knowledge that your employees need to be happy to give good service. I worked for their company during my summer vacations in high school and everyone I worked with told me how amazing and wonderful she was. It took me many years to realize how right they were.
We're holding services for my Grandmother on Saturday in Salem. I'm a bit nervous and I have a sense that there will be an overwhelming amount of people there. I'm reading The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and speaking briefly about her. I'm the lucky one, my Grandmother and I had a very special relationship. I think when I was born she realized that she'd spent her daughters childhood at work and was trying to toughen them for the real world. She must have decided that it would be different with me. I would spend almost the entire summer with Grandma and Grandpa. They would take me to the beach, Grandma would take me to flower festivals and as a special treat I would spend the afternoon at her work! (Funny how that was a treat back then and now it's the last place I would voluntarily be :P ) After my Grandpa passed she and I became even closer. I think she shared more with me then she did anyone and I feel privileged to be in that position. I have a feeling I will miss her in ways I can't imagine today. I hope that she is at peace with herself and her life and is dancing somewhere right now.
(BTW as if Saturday wasn't full enough, I am throwing my best friends bachelorette party in the evening. I would love it if ya'll would send some knitterly mojo my way so I have enough fortitude left to throw a part for 15 ladies. I think this may be the most bizarre day in my life :P )