Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Loving Tribute to Evelyn Joyce Yakel Dugan

Evelyn Dugan, my maternal grandmother, is being laid to rest today. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral, but I am able to write about how much she meant to me.

The first characteristic that comes to mind when I think of Grandma Evelyn is generosity. She was the one who surprised me with the My Little Pony castle for my 9th Christmas, who bought me three pairs of Guess jeans for high school, who encouraged good grades with a $100 check for straight As and my love of reading with boxes upon boxes of Harlequin historicals (yes, I used to read romances!), who sent me 8 boxes of Great Grains Crunchy Pecan cereal when I was living in Japan ... and so much more.


My mom and grandma before I was born


But it wasn’t just material things. She was generous with her time – calling me often, writing letters at least once a week, frying me up the most delicious hamburgers and garden-grown okra when I came to stay with her, visiting our family in all the various places we lived over the years, and performing selfless acts like organizing a truck to bring all my stuff to her house when I moved to Germany.

And I was not the only one who benefited from her generosity. She bought groceries and other necessities for our family and for charities like DoorStep constantly. She organized a lot of activities at her church and made baby blankets and quilts all the time. She also stayed with my mother nearly the whole time she was in the home hospice program.

My brothers and me with Grandpa Dale and Grandma Evelyn in front of our house in Sunset, Utah


But what I always admired the most about Grandma Evelyn was her perseverance and fighting spirit. Despite the many trials she went through in her life – moving around constantly as a child, the early deaths of her parents, having to take care of a sister who was mentally handicapped, losing a fiancĂ©e in World War II, and having two adult children and her husband precede her in death among them – Grandma Evelyn never played the victim. Both she and my mother were strong role models for me, and though they never quite managed to interest me in gardening, cooking, and sewing, they taught me much which I carry within my heart today.

Not that Grandma Evelyn wasn’t without her endearing eccentricies. When she liked something, she bought A LOT of it – whether it was the Precious Moments figurines which filled various china cabinets through her house, the antique steamer trunks stacked up in her basement, a literal wall of Slim Fast she got for my brother Nick when he decided to go on a diet, the “brass” Christmas (where Uncle Kent instituted the “brass tax”), or the 3 limited edition Beanie Baby pigs she gave Daniel one year (and the 3 concrete pigs she gave him the next).

Grandma Evelyn and Grandpa Dale with me after my HS graduation


Because of her fight with Alzheimer’s the past few years, she wasn’t able to attend my wedding and the last time she recognized me was nearly three years ago. But even in her worsening condition, her sweet spirit and wit shined through.

I will miss you Grandma, and so will so many others. You may be gone, but your legacy lives on.


Read Grandma Evelyn’s obituary.

53 comments:

TERI REES WANG said...

Bless Evelyn.

Bless Lenore too...

LovesSam said...

This is such a lovely post, hoping you and your family are coping well ((hugs))

Jenn said...

What a lovely tribute! She sounds like she was a very sweet soul.

ANovelMenagerie said...

Lenore, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. She sounds like an amazing grandmother. You were so lucky to have her in your life!

My prayers and hugs.

Sheri

lilly said...

A wonderful tribute to a beautiful woman inside and out. Your words actually made me cry a little.

avisannschild said...

Lenore, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. What a beautiful tribute you wrote to your grandmother. And thanks for sharing pics with us. I especially like the top one! My thoughts are with you and your family.

thekoolaidmom said...

I am touched by your post and your loving and strong Grandma Evelyn.

I lost my Grandma a year and a half ago after a long decline from Alzheimer's, so I understand how you feel. And when my dad passed a few years ago, I was unable to go to his memorial, as it was in Texas and I live in Indiana. So I know how you feel about not being able to attend her services.

My heart goes out to you in warmth, friendship and hugs... lots of hugs.

Staci said...

Absolutely beautiful tribute to such a wonderful woman. ((hugs))

Jen Robinson said...

Sorry about your grandma, Lenore. But it's a lovely tribute!

Alea said...

Aww Lenore. I don't even know what to say, but that was beautiful. Hugs to you and your family!

Kathleen said...

What a beautiful and moving tribute to a very special lady. My prayers are with you and your family.

Keren David said...

A beautiful tribute - so sorry for your loss.

Book Whisperer said...

Wonderful post.... So Sorry for you loss. She is in a better place, only if we all could be so lucky.

Jess said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lenore. It sounds like Evelyn was a wonderful woman. This is a sweet tribute, and I'm sure she knew how much you loved her.

Kelly said...

Lenore, what a sweet post...I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. These photos are great, and it's amazing to see how much you look like your mom...

Liviania said...

My condolences. I'm sorry you weren't able to attend the funeral. It's wonderful that you have so many good memories of her.

Sadako said...

So sorry for your loss, Lenore. Your grandmother sounds she was a wonderful woman.

Zombie Girrrl said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Lenore. She sounded like a first class lady.
God bless you and yours.

Zibilee said...

Your grandmother sounds like a very special and wonderful lady and I am so sorry to hear that she has passed. I will be adding you and your family to my prayers and will be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Lenore, what a touching remembrance of Evelyn. I remember her being that generous person whether for family or for neighbors or church people. She always loved her grandchildren and she will definitely be missed.

Rhonda

Lorin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lenore. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Donna Gambale said...

Thank you for sharing your love for your grandmother with us.

Aarti said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandmother, Lenore. This post is a lovely tribute to her.

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

I'm really sorry for your loss and thank you for posting such a beautiful tribute, which really shows how much you loved your grandmother. You really showed what an amazing an aspiring woman she was so I can understand why this is particularly difficult for you. Still, I think you did an amazing job with the wonderful tribute. Best wishes to you and your family.

Rebecca Herman said...

Your grandmother sounds like she was such a wonderful woman & grandmother. I am so sorry for your loss. *hugs*

Melody said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lenore. That's a lovely tribute to your grandmother.

Lauren said...

What a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for you loss, Lenore. She sounded like a fantastic person. *hugs*

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

*hugs*

This is a really beautiful post and I'm so so sorry to hear about your loss.

TruBlu93 said...

I'm so sorry.
May she rest in peace.

Gwendolyn B. said...

Your Grandma sounds like quite a lady and you've written a lovely tribute. Peace.

kikiv68 said...

what a beautiful post about your grandmother. She sounds like she was an awesome grandma.

bermudaonion said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. It sounds like your grandmother was a wonderful woman and I feel certain some of her spirit lives in you. You're in my thoughts.

Doraine Bennett said...

What sweet memories you carry with you. Grieve well for one loved well. Blessings.

thetruebookaddict said...

A wonderful tribute...I'm sorry for your loss.

Mari said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Grandma's are wonderful and it is so hard when we have to say goodbye. You are in my thoughts.

Linda said...

Lenore, I was one of the lucky recipients of baby blankets from both your mom and your grandma, for Brandon and the twins. I love the photo of your mom with Evelyn. I haven't seen that one before. I know you will cherish your memories of your precious grandma. She is at peace from the dreadful disease that is Alzheimer's. What a lovely tribute! Hugs and kisses coming your way!

Amy said...

This is a beautiful tribute, Lenore. I am thinking of you and praying for you, friend.

Sandra said...

Aren't grandmothers wonderful? Sorry for your loss. Pictures and good memories are nice to have.

Mardel said...

I hardly ever use the word "blessed", but it fits here. How blessed you and everyone she knew were to have her in their lives. She also sounds like quite a character.

I hope it helps to remember her generosity and spirit. Keep those memories close to your heart.

Alessandra said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, Lenore. My grandma on my mum's side passed away in Dec 2007 after a very long struggle with Alzheimer's - almost 12 years - so I think I know what it feels like. I hope you and your family are coping well.

Your Grandma Evelyn sounds like an amazing woman. Hugs.

Angiegirl said...

Lenore, my thoughts are with you. What a beautiful tribute. And those photos! I so enjoyed them. You don't here about too many people from Sunset, UT!

Beth F said...

What a beautiful post. My thoughts are with you.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

What a beautiful tribute. It brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother suffered from several mini-strokes a few years ago. Sometimes she recognizes us, sometimes she doesn't. We haven't been to visit her for a few years now because we don't know how the boys will react to her. She, too, nurtured my love of reading. She was a librarian and introduced me to a wealth of amazing authors, several of which continue to be my favorites.

Steve said...

Hey, sorry about your grandmother's passing. Is this the one I sent a postcard to from Armenia? I've never seen old pics of you or your mom, who you obviously have a strong resemblance to! You looked adorable at 18, hehe. My grandmother also had dementia when she died and in some ways, I think it was best when she was finally able to rest peacefully instead of us all living life past her. But best of all, you no doubt made her proud and learned what she wanted you to from her.

Heidi Willis said...

What a beautiful, sweet tribute. I know how hard it is to be far from family when something like this happens. What you've done here will hopefully be part of the healing process.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

Jenny said...

Oh, Lenore, I am so sorry for your family's loss. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

stacybuckeye said...

Your grandma sounds like a special lady. I'll say prayer for you.

alitareads said...

This is such a sweet post. Your Grandma sounds like she was a wonderful person.

Bibliovore said...

She sounds like a wonderful lady, and you're lucky to have such a memory in your life even if she's gone ahead.

Lenore said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I appreciate them greatly during this difficult time.

Anna said...

What a beautiful tribute. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. ((HUGS))

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

kanishk said...

hoping you and your family are coping well

Work from home India

Anonymous said...

Hey Len,
What a tribute your post was to your Grandma. How nice it is to know that we'll see her in Heaven some day....My prayers are with you.
Rachelle