Beyond Iron
Life … when the training is finished

Rest in peace, Grandma Electa


Me, Beckett, Brody, Grandma and Mom - February 2010

Training complete: 27 weeks, 1 day • Until race: 2 weeks, 6 days

Earlier this evening, Grandma Electa died.

I can’t believe I’m writing those words. She was the woman with nine lives; who beat comas, and cancer, and a broken heart, and cancer again. She beat a fractured pelvis, with the cancer setting in, and walked again.

She was a remarkable woman: loving and compassionate; tough and fiercely proud of her family; in love with her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. And she was also very loved – by me, by her family members, by those same children, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren she adored and by the many, many, many friends she kept in her company.

I can’t compress the scope of her life into mere words. Her presence, her meaning, is too vast for me to put into consonants and vowels, but I guess I’ll give it a first draft.

For me, Grandma Electa was always light. Not light in weight. She was light. Bright light. Laughter in a world with too little. Despite her incredible sophistication, she still thoughts farts and burps were funny. That kind of light.

She laughed at my dumb jokes, encouraged my ridiculous athletic adventures, she taught me to love the woods walking the paths behind her house when I was little, and to appreciate cooking. She liked to talk about anything – good looking men, stupid politicians, what I was doing at work, it didn’t matter. And if it was over a good glass of wine, all the better.

I loved that as she got older, it seemed as if her passion for life only grew stronger. She always wanted to do something when she came to visit – go to the zoo, go to a dive bar (she’d never been to one, she claimed), see a concert, take a drive to see some new sight. And we did all those things many times, as I know she did with her friends in New Jersey.

For many people, the passion for life fades with age. Not for grandma, not even with a sickness that increasingly made it harder for her to do the things she loved.

I’m switching between being an emotional wreck and having moments of clarity; but I know I’m thankful for so many things we got to do together these past few years – we went to that dive bar, some dump in central Phoenix and propped her a bar stool; we went and saw ridiculous celebrity impersonators at a Phoenix-area casino (and had an awesome time), she got to watch me finish an Ironman, and a few other big races and we got to have many, many, many dinners in my home, during which she laughed and laughed, and made my kids laugh and laugh …

My memories of her are fond, and happy, and wonderful.

Her life was a beautiful gift to all of those fortunate enough to be a part of it. Rest in peace, Grandma Electa.

As you always said to me: I love you dearly.

P.S. This Ironman’s for you.

Love, Ed

5 Responses to “Rest in peace, Grandma Electa”

  1. Sorry to hear the news Ed. It sucks to lose a loved one. Good luck in the Ironman. I hope to see you there.

  2. My sincere condolences.

  3. Ed, your grandmother will be missed. I loved spending the holidays with her seeing her bright smile! She was definately a light in this world! May she rest in peace.
    Love Karen

  4. Ed i’m your dads cousin Tres’s wife. I just wanted to tell you how much i loved reading this and what a wonderful writer you are. You recally captured Electa for me this morning and put into words everything i was thinking and feeling. THanks so much for sharing.
    Your Grandmother was such a special woman. It was an honor to know her.
    With Love,
    Marianne Driscoll

  5. Ed, We have never met but through the families there is a connection. That is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. How blessed you were to have that special relationship, it is magical and everyone isn’t that fortunate. It is difficult to lose a loved one, no matter the age or reason. Take the time to grieve, but she will always be alive in your heart. Please give my condolenses to your mom, dad and the rest of the family.

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