For Gigi




Gigi turned 98 a couple weeks ago, and decided that was old enough.  Yesterday, she left us. She had a long life full of joy and sadness, hardship and fortune.  She saw a lot of progress in her 98 years and a lot of strife.  She had 2 sons, 5 grand children and 7 great grand children though she counted my 2 stepsons as hers too.  Tot was her youngest and perhaps most ardent admirer.  When I explained to her that Gigi had gone to heaven and we wouldn’t be able to see her anymore, she said to me I love Gigi in heaven best Mommy.  But maybe when you go to heaven, I can love you best too.

I lived with Gigi for 5 months when I finished college and came to the conclusion then, that, compared to her, I am a colossal wimp.  She did the myriad of exhausting tasks that mothers do and on top of that she farmed including “preparing” dinner from scratch (like the chickens scratching in the dirt) and getting maimed by farm machinery, helped rebuild her house after it burned down,



cleaned other people’s houses, survived tragedy and soldiered on with an oh-so-matter-of-fact attitude and with a quiet, understated sense of humor.

Gigi seemed every bit her German heritage – quiet, capable, determined, almost stoic on the face of things,  persevering and (maybe not so typically german at least not in stereotypical fashion) funny.  For her 98th birthday, she decided to reverse roles and send cards out rather than receive them.  She wrote a letter with every one.  At 98 she wrote letters, a rare commodity in this day and age. And there was always something in every letter that would make me laugh.  When Mr.Tot first met her, she softly confided to him, “You know, I felt great when I was drinking last night, I felt great when I went to bed, but I felt lousy when I woke up – it must be the sleep!”  Humor, I think, was her key to a long happy life.

Though her fabulous sticky buns, and addicting german potato salad may have contributed to the happiness part, at least the rest of us think so…

I have no fears for my daughter – I think Gigi gave Tot all her toughness and confided all her secrets for making the most out of life.  Between Gigi and Tot’s other great grandmother that she never got to meet, Tot is set.  Because it’s overtly apparent that Tot can take on the world…  and she certainly didn’t get that from me.  Most days, I feel quite puddle-like…

Maybe one of these days, my gigi genes will kick in…


Here’s to you Gigi.  Hope you’re having a blast in heaven.  We’ll try to get by without you. But we will surely miss you.  Keep on eye on Tot for me, will you?  Because while I have no fear she can take on the world….  I’m not so sure she’s safe from herself….

Oh, and leave the light on for us, okay?



2 comments to For Gigi

  • Yvonne

    My heart aches for your loss but my spirits soar for your great fortune at having known and been loved by her. ((hugs))

  • Joanne and Earl

    Thank you for your wonderful tribute to GG. God bless you and your family.  We pray that the Lord will bless and keep Woody in His loving care.
    Earl and JoAnne

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