Excerpt from Grandma’s Book: Introduction

I thought I’d share an excerpt from what I wrote the other day. It’s merely a draft, but I did think it important to write this stuff down. My vision for the introduction: to help the reader to understand what kind of book he/she is about to read, as well as (hopefully) to entice them to keep turning pages. I’m not sure if I’ll keep this intro like this, but in any case, it’s a start!


There is no surprise ending to this book. My grandmother’s life ended the way everyone’s ends. She died. On July 2, 2006, she suffered a massive stroke sometime in the wee hours of the morning. My mother, who was living with Grandma, found her in the morning and knew that this was the end.

That day my family and I were visiting my grandma’s niece in Burlington, Vermont. We had come up for the fabled fireworks show to be held on July 3. It was our first visit to Burlington, and we were thoroughly enjoying the quaint, pedestrian-friendly city. The morning of Grandma’s stroke, I had gone off to the Bennington Pottery shop to wish I were rich. I found a deep purple glaze that I particularly liked. But I left the store purchaseless and emerged into the sunlight on the street. I was surprised to see that my husband was walking towards me. I laughed, delighted that Burlington was such a cozy place that we could so easily run into each other. Then I saw the look on his face and the cell phone in his hand.

My mom was on the line, waiting for him to find me. “Grandma’s had a massive stroke. I’m going to put the phone next to her ear so you can say goodbye.” I moved away from the noise of the street and into the foyer of the pottery store.

“Grandma, this is Diana. Grandma, I love you. I love you so much. There’s no way to tell you how much you have meant to me, how important you are to me, what a difference you have made in my life. I promise you that I will finish the book. You already know that. But I want to make sure. I promise that I will finish your book, our book. I love you.”

Mom came back on the line and told me that she was going to let Grandma die at home, that it seemed likely that she would not last long though one couldn’t be sure. “I’ll call you later, honey.”

“Did she hear me, Mom?”

“Yes, she cried.”


7 Responses

  1. That’s a pretty great start. Very nice. The first three sentences were very good.

    Also, that’s nice you got to talk with your grandmother one last time. Not many of us get that chance.

    I can see why you’re so driven to write this book.

  2. Thanks, strugglingwriter. I always appreciate your comments.

    Good luck with the NaNo writing. Keep on keepin on.

  3. Made me cry. Just so you know.

  4. Yes, this is a great start. I cried too. We can all put our selves in your shoes and wish we had that moment to tell our precious grandmothers how much we love them, how much they mean to us, and how much they will continue to mean in our lives. Shortly after my grandmother’s death, I was in the grocery store produce department and there I saw cinnomon sticks nicely bundled and tied off with jute twine. It brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother was famous for her cinnamon rolls. The tears continued as I imagined my grandmother shopping for her family, choosing the finest tomatoes, the perfect apples; and I imagined being her for a moment, and I shopped as she would have with the same joy and anticipation she passed onto me. In her beautiful kitchen, she ignited my imagination with aromas and tastes that still connect me to her and to this world. I’ll look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks!

  5. Hi, Lisa,

    I’m glad my post touched you. I was back in time writing it and felt all the old emotions surge up, too. When will the grief stop feeling so intense, I wonder?

    I love the image our your grandmother shopping for cinnamon roll ingredients. Such a mundane, ordinary task — shopping — and yet such things are mostly what make up our lives. You should write more about her! You’re a good writer 🙂

  6. Thank you for the encouragement! I did write a poem about my grandmother entitled Cinnamon Rolls (gee what a surprise). It still needs work, but I’ll finish it one day. Your honoring of your grandmother through your writing is inspiring; maybe I will write more about her now. I just read your post on Lefse-making with great interest. As you know, my grandmother was Norwegian also, and another thing you and I have in common appeared: divorce. My parents divorced when I was quite young. Unfortunately, my Norwegian father left the state when I was 6 and disappeared from my life, taking my involvement with my grandmother with him. So my time with my grandmother was brief, but oh so formative. I did see her a bit in later years, but those visits were few. So, I’ll live vicariously through your writing. Through your writing I can enjoy what it might have been like to make lefse with my grandmother. Thank you for commiting your story to paper. I’m thankful for your grandparents love and care for you. Those seasons of lefse making will now reach beyond the walls of your family’s kitchen.

  7. You made ME cry now! Thanks for such kind words. It means so much to me that someone out there is reading and finding my words meaningful. Very encouraging — THANKS!

    You should definitely write about your grandma. The divorce legacy is interesting, too….

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