My grandmother, Zoe Warner Durrell, passed away this morning. I’m going to talk about it a little, because I want to say some things about her and this is a place where I talk about that which is meaningful to me.
It was very peaceful. She had just moved into the home of my Aunt Zoe and Uncle Jeff, leaving her assisted living home; everyone was very happy about that. My father had spent Thanksgiving with them all. Everyone in the family had spent some time with her in the last year or so. She’d been ill since last winter. When my father called me this morning, it was not shocking.
Grandmama was a matriarch in the classic sense. She had always had a firm vision of what the family should be, and let us know when we slipped. Not in a bad way. There’s something to be said for firm guidance, and I am happy to have inherited my concepts of politesse and nobility from her. We’re preppies, albeit rather lapsed ones in my generation. I don’t say this very often, but I am proud of my heritage.
She lived through amazing changes. I am embarassed to admit that I’m not sure of her exact age, but then, it would be wrong to talk of it in public in any case. She’d seen most of the last century. The world never baffled her. In this past year, she’d gotten an email device, which she was happy to use with assistance. It’s easy to forget how much the aged have seen, but Grandmama was not one to be underestimated.
She and Grandpapa lived well and graciously. He was a publisher, originally in New York and then on a smaller scale in Kennebunkport. I know of fewer more noble occupations. I hope to follow in those footsteps, someday. When she moved to North Carolina, after he passed away, she donated her Kennebunkport house to the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.
I am told that her memory was slipping, towards the end. It must have been difficult for her. She was exceedingly lucid when I visited her last spring, which is precisely what I would have expected. She was an author, not terribly prolific, but it’s another aspect of her that impressed and influenced me. In any case, she died content and happy that her family was doing well.
I hope that I’ve lived up to her standards. I hope that I continue to do so. I will miss her terribly.