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Lee Forsythe, 1919-2008

1 August, 2008

Shortly after five on Thursday, July 31 my great grandmother, my Nana, passed away.

This post isn’t about that. This post is about remembering where the women in my family get our strength from. I won’t remember her laying weak and in pain near the end. I choose to remember everything else.

I was the one that started calling her Nana, and now everyone – even my mom and aunts still do. She always called me her “punkin”. I remember when she lived out on the farm, and then when she moved into town. My life is full of amazing memories that involve being with her, and I want to share some of them.

  • I remember waking up as a young child in her house at the farm to the quiet sounds of my mother and her talking, and the smell of fresh coffee brewing.
  • I remember the smells and tastes of all of the delicious fruits and vegetables she’d can, my favorite being her world-class apple butter.
  • I remember being about eight years old and being in trouble for something and getting a spanking from my mother. Nana told me that it broke her heart to see that, and I knew she loved me very much.
  • I remember waking up the morning after our wedding, donning my dress, and making the drive to Independence to surprise her because she wasn’t able to travel and be there to see us.
  • I remember seeing how quickly we could get the exercise bike’s odometer to tick through a mile, and then getting into trouble for trying to pedal backwards.
  • I remember learning to play all kinds of card games with Nana, though my one regret is that I never learned cribbage.
  • I remember how warm and welcoming she was to Ryan, and how they teased each other right off the bat.
  • I remember getting my first big-girl bike for Christmas at the farm, and how she didn’t mind that I rode it around and around in the dining room.
  • I remember loving breakfast at Nana’s house because we got to drink apricot nectar from the little glasses that had oranges on them, and we’d eat glazed twirl donuts.
  • I remember wearing her earrings and rings and playing with a huge red vinyl purse pretending I was like her.

Little did I realize, I really am like her. Nana was stubborn, intelligent, independent, strong, sharp, and caring. And so am I. Like my grandmother, my mother, my brother, my aunts and uncle, my cousins… I am her legacy.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 August, 2008 12:33 pm

    What a beautiful way to remember her!

  2. Llama Momma permalink
    1 August, 2008 12:59 pm

    Thanks for making me cry…..I’m here for you. Whatever you need……

  3. tstyler98 permalink
    1 August, 2008 4:18 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s always good to remember the good times.

  4. 1 August, 2008 9:20 pm

    That’s a rockin legacy, Lisslo. HUGS.

  5. Aunt Tine permalink
    2 August, 2008 7:55 am

    What a wonderful post and a beautiful memoir. The best darn Nana ever, I would say! Love you!

  6. 4 August, 2008 4:46 am

    I love the word ‘Nana’.

    A beautiful, wonderful, empassioned woman who was given dignity and respect during her final hours. Those memories belong to you and she seems to be a good role model, she’ll be with you forever because of that.

    Hugs and a big smile because this is a celebration of a wonderful life, well lived and well loved.

  7. Harold Forsythe Jr permalink
    4 August, 2008 1:38 pm

    grandma Lee also made me smile.
    She will be missed…

  8. Amber/Daydreamer permalink
    4 August, 2008 6:00 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your Nana’s passing but your tribute to her is beautiful. Thank God for all the years you were lucky to have her, your Great-Grandma.

  9. 4 August, 2008 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much for all of your kind words!

  10. Kim Barnes permalink
    4 August, 2008 10:06 pm

    Grandma Forsythe was a very loving person who I loved to see when visiting Iowa. She was always on top of sending Christmas cards and was thoughtful in all she did. No matter what she was always taking care of herself and others. She will be missed greatly and I will love her always!

  11. 7 August, 2008 1:29 pm


    I would say I’m sorry for your loss but that seems a little off somehow. So rather than that, I’ll say that I’m glad for you that you loved and were loved by someone so wonderful.

  12. 8 August, 2008 10:50 am

    Well said, Kim.

    Thanks, Rezzie.

  13. Tonia Thurm permalink
    24 August, 2008 2:51 pm

    I remember when grandma use to watch us during the summer while my parents were at work. She used to make us come in everyday for lunch at noon sharp and we had better be there or else. Then on a lighter note, the were so many times we would sit around and play skip-bo and uno. Those were the fun times. She will be missed dearly by all, and we all love her very much.
    Neal, Tonia, Miranda and Mylee Thurm

  14. 24 August, 2008 7:22 pm

    Tonia, thank you for sharing your memories. Part of what made her so lovable was that toughness, but also how she loved to spend time and have fun with us.

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