Saturday, May 16, 2009

R.I.P., Grandma Diamond.

My maternal grandmother passed away last week. Her funeral is today, in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure why I didn't blog about it then. I think I was a little too overwhelmed with life to even begin processing her death. She had been ill for a long time, and we had a few scares where we were told to be prepared that she probably wouldn't make it. So when I got the call that she had passed away, I was a little surprised. I little relieved. A little sad. Surprised because she had always pulled through. Relieved that her pain is finally over. Sad because she was my last living grandparent, sad for my mom because her mom was now gone.

Her obituary was limited to 200 words. How do you sum up a life in 200 words, while also listing all of her family members, places she lived, and major accomplishments? How do you capture the essence of what made her happy, speak to her passions, her hardships, her fiery red hair, and the things that made her laugh? How do you get across what a rebel she was to go back to school in the 1960's as a mature student in her 40's, before society supported women putting down their aprons to pursue graduate school and a career? For my grandma, education meant a better life. It was no accident that both my uncle and my mom went on to get graduate degrees (my mom earned a PhD!). Not bad for a coal miner's daughter.

My Grandma Diamond loved to bake. I have many recipe books from her - cookie books, chocolate books, you name it. They are all inscribed to me from her, in her perfect teacher penmanship (I imagine she cringed whenever I sent her a card, my messages always printed neatly as my penmanship is barely legible). One of her favourite recipes was Mint Surprise cookies, which my mom and I continue to make to this day. My mom tells stories about how my grandma would make her own candy to give out as Christmas gifts, stirring up the thick sugary concoction, then pouring it out onto a marble slab which would get put outside in the cold to set. Then cutting it into individual pieces. I have always wanted to make my own candy. Maybe my mom and I will do that this coming winter, as a tribute to my Grandma Diamond.My Grandma Diamond also loved to sew, and she collected figurines. I remember visiting her house when I was little, and sitting in front of the big glass cabinet where they were all housed, oo-ing and ah-ing over them. I remember that she had the best junk food too. Being from Canada, we didn't have any of the products she could get in the US (or maybe my mom just didn't want me filling up on candy?). But at my grandma's house, I got to sample every kind of chocolaty goodness I could get my hands on, and I really liked that.

Her greatest passion by far was literature and reading. She earned her bachelor and master of arts, and taught high school English. I think she would be pleased to know that she passed this love on to both her children, and that my mom passed this love of reading on to me. She would also love that I write every day, and that I married a writer. And she would be tickled pink to know that both Max and Cameron love having stories read to them. Who knows, maybe this past week she gave Max a little nudge from heaven, telling him to start bringing me books again, to let me start reading to him again.One of her favourite poem's was Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken":

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I'm not able to travel to Pennsylvania to attend her funeral. So, instead, I am going to take Cameron to a bookstore today, and we will pick out a few books and sit and read them, in honour of my Grandma Diamond. I think she would have liked that. Rest in peace Grandma. You were loved and your life made a difference.

Marilyn M. Diamond
(August 12, 1923 - May 4, 2009)

Trinity H.S. retiree served in WWII Navy WAVES.
Marilyn M. Diamond, formerly of Washington, died Monday, May 4, 2009, in Casper, Wyo.

She was born August 12, 1923, in Fredericktown, a daughter of George and Elizabeth Miller.

After high school, she married Ray Diamond.

During World War II, she served in the U.S. Navy WAVES. Following the war, the couple lived in Vestaburg and Beallsville and had two children, Richard and Elizabeth.

She moved to Colorado with her family in 1960. She earned a bachelor of arts and master of arts from the University of Colorado in the 1960s. She taught English in Longmont, Colo., for several years before returning to Washington with her husband in 1968. She then taught at Trinity High School, retiring in 1985.

Surviving are a son, Richard Diamond of Casper; a daughter, Elizabeth Dennis of British Columbia; a brother, William Miller of North Carolina; three grandchildren, Katrina, Matthew and Daniel; and three great-grandchildren, Maxwell, Cameron Elizabeth and Benjamin.

Deceased are her husband, Ray, and a stepson, Ray Diamond Jr.

Friends will be received from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the time of services, Saturday, May 16, in William G. Neal Funeral Homes Ltd., 395 East Maiden Street, Washington. Burial will follow in LaFayette Memorial Park, Brier Hill.


  1. Kat, I am sorry for your loss. I am not much of a baker, but I am getting better and will make some of those mint suprise cookies in her honour this week. Hugs my friend.

  2. Anonymous8:15 p.m.

    Sorry to hear, sister.

    I will pray for your family.