Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of my grandmother, Harriet Lillian Northrop Cressy. She was 5 months shy of her 100th birthday. Lucy was born just 5 days later, on the day of Grandma’s funeral. She would be Grandma’s 20th great grandchild.
Living so far away and being so pregnant, I knew that we would not be able to attend the funeral. However, I never expected that Lucy would be born on such a special day, as she came three weeks early. It was difficult not being with family to mourn G’ma’s passing, but by the time Lucy arrived, I was so exhausted, so overwhelmed by joy, and so utterly high on adrenaline that I didn’t have much time to think about what I had missed.
My Aunt Cathy brought it all back home for me when she wrote “Your energy and love was with us on Saturday. We could all feel your presence at Grandma’s service. I know she passed Lucy along the way.” How honored we felt to share such an auspicious day with such an amazing woman.
My grandmother was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother to eight, a mother-in-law to more, an aunt, a grandmother to 17, a grand aunt to 2, and a great grandmother to 20. She was a nurse, a caregiver, a charmer, an intellectual, a mentor, a friend, and a writer.
This summer, the family gathered in Wolfeboro for Grandma’s interment. We celebrated her life with music, letters, photos, and memories. We laughed, we cried. We swam in Lake Wentworth. We took walks down the old railroad tracks. We picnicked on hotdogs and clam dip and super duper cake – her favorite foods. But we also questioned what would become of the great Cressy Clan with our matriarch gone. We promised to stay in touch, plan the next family reunion, share photos from the weekend, and more. And so far, we have. In doing so, I have realized that Grandma not only left us the legacy of family, she also left with us the desire to remain as one.
Shortly after Lucy was born, my cousin Allison wrote, via Facebook, “welcome, welcome Lucinda, to our big wonderful family!” We have none other than Grandma to thank for that. And it keeps getting bigger. Great grandchild number 21, Lillian Harriet Cressy, was born to my cousin Matt and his wife, Vanessa, on November 3.