Friday, October 21, 2011

Gramma Hazel

Our Gramma Hazel passed away on Monday, October 10th :( She was a very special gramma to us and we will miss her.


That day I got a call from Heather around noon letting me know that Mom had gotten a call from one of the ladies on gramma's hospice team saying she didn't have much time left. Mom left work right away to meet Heather and I to go down and see Gramma. We didn't make it before she passed away. We still went down to see her one last time and I'm so glad we did. My sister is much better at putting things into words and these are her words about our last visit:

...i needed to see her sweet face and hold her pretty little hands with the crooked fingers one last time. countless times, those little hands brushed my hair and scratched my back and wiped tears from my cheeks and held me tight. they wrote me letters and tied my shoes and helped me throw plunkers into the lake. they're so familiar to me. i remember every little detail... the way gramma's "old lady skin" stretched over the tops of the veins and bones of those hands... the shapes of her crooked little fingers... the indentation from her watch at the spot where her hands met her soft, padded arms... the way those hands always looked so worn, but always felt so soft. i hope i don't ever forget all of those details...


Pederson, Hazel Violet Age 96 of NE Mpls, passed away on October 10, 2011. Preceded in death by husbands, Charles Peters and Harold Pederson; brothers, Alfred and Lowell Carpentier; sisters, Helen Dolan, Ida Mae Benson, Audrey Ek, and Yvonne Hammerstad. Survived by children, Kenneth (Barbara) Peters, Robert (Penny) Peters, and Vickie (Marv) Hinnenkamp; 6 grandchildren, Cathy, Tim, Terry, Christine, Heather, and Ashley; 10 great-grandchildren; a very special niece, Sheryl Sheppard; as well as many more nieces and nephews. Hazel is the last member of the Carpentier family that moved to NE Mpls some 90 years ago from a French-Canadian settlement near Range, WI. She was amazing, always tried to be independent, and handle life on her own. She was loved and will be missed. Memorials preferred to Health Partners Hospice or donor's choice. Memorial service 11 AM Friday, October 14, with visitation 1 hour prior all at: Washburn-McReavy Northeast Chapel 612-781-6828 2901 Johnson St. N.E.

Heather and I went through a bunch of old photos of Gramma and put together some photo boards to display at the service. Here are a few of the pics along with what Heather and I wrote and read at the service.

Heather: Our Gramma was a very special lady to many people. She had a big heart and a strong will to do anything she set her mind to. There are so many things we want to remember about Gramma. Conversations we had, places we went, things we saw... More than anything though, we want to remember the way she made us feel and the things she taught us by the way she lived her life and treated other people.

Gramma and her little sister Yvonne


Ashley: Since we were little kids, Gramma has been a special part of our lives. She was always kind and gentle, sensitive and nurturing. She wiped away our tears when we cried. And she'd check each one to let us know if they were sweet or salty to make us smile again. She dependably gave out hugs and kisses. Through her actions and her gentle touch and friendly smiles, she showed us she loved us. When we were little kids, we'd sit beside her and ask her to scratch our backs, and she'd do it forever, because we liked it so much. She called us her 'Bunky' and 'Bunker.' And whenever I'd call her, she'd say in her sweet voice, “Is this the little one?”

Gramma second from the left


Heather: She was strong and independent. If there was something she wanted to do or somewhere she wanted to go, she found a way to get it done. The lack of a car never prevented her from going out shopping or to appointments. It never stopped her from taking us to the Como zoo or Moore Lake or the Apache Theater or the Northtown mall or swimming at the park. We loaded up her little grocery cart and shoulder bags filled with picnic lunches and supplies for the day, and we walked and we rode the bus. And we thought it was a fun adventure walking on the foot bridge over the interstate, waving to cars and making semis honk their horns. Riding on the bus, we took turns pulling the yellow cord to tell the driver where our stop was. No matter what the destination, Gramma got us there. She always found a way to make things happen. She taught us to be strong and independent and resourceful. She taught us that if there was something we wanted or wanted to do, we just had to figure out how to make it happen. And then do it.

At her waitressing job at Curly's


Ashley: Gramma knew and learned how to do so many things on her own. Of course, there was always a list of things for our dad to do when he came to visit, but Gramma did most things all on her own. She was always efficient and frugal with everything. I remember Gramma always had lots of goodies made when we'd come visit like cookies, rice pudding, and lots of other treats. While we stayed with her, we'd get to help her make things like caramel rolls, dunkers, and pies. When we'd make pies there was never any crust wasted. Anything left over became 'gullets' that she rolled out, added cinnamon and sugar to and baked for a tasty treat. She always had ways of saving and making the most out of anything she had. Don’t throw out your used baggies! Just wash them out for another use.

Gramma Hazel :)


Heather: We watched her work hard her entire life, and we saw her sacrifice her free time, money, energy to spend time with and help out the people she loved. She taught us to work hard, not take people or things for granted and to always be available for people who need us.



Ashley: Gramma taught us to use our imaginations. We would put on fashion shows for her by dressing up in her nighties or fluffy slips she bought at 'Unique.' We'd top the outfits off with her clip on dangly earrings and some fancy shoes from her collection, which we called clompers because of the noise they made on her wood floors. We thought we were fancy fashion models as Gramma clapped and told us how pretty we were. Other times, we waited on her as we pretended to be waitresses. At Gramma's house, we could be anything we wanted to be.



Heather: I swear every person I have ever known in my entire life knew about my Gramma. I must have talked about her a lot. To everyone. It makes my heart happy that it seems like she touched so many people's lives in even little tiny ways. Since she passed away earlier this week, and word has spread of her passing, I have received so many calls and messages from people, people I haven't talked to in years even, expressing their sympathy and reminding me of little stories they recall about Gramma. I received a message from a childhood friend who spent time with Gramma and me when I was little. In her message, she said, "i know how special Grammas are and yours was an extra special one. I always remember wanting to go over to your house even more when Gramma Hazel was there- she was always so kind, caring and fun and always made my day ; ) she had such a big smile and fun loving laugh. Another thing I remember is that even though I was really young, I could see how proud of you she was. I remember one time when we were playing in your camper and you ran in [the house] to get something, she said to me, 'heather is a real smart girl isn't she?!...and such a good heart she has-that's important too you know!'"

Gramma's wedding photo with her first husband, Charles (Bunny)


Ashley: As we grew older, Gramma continued encouraging us in so many ways. Whether it was school or sports or anything else we put our efforts into, Gramma was always there to tell us we could do it. She believed in us and made us believe in ourselves. Whatever we wanted to do or whatever we wanted to be, Gramma supported us and told us we could.

Gramma with Bob and Pete


Heather: Gramma made me feel like I was important. She told me I was smart. She made me believe that she thought I could do anything. She made sure I knew she was proud of me. Those are things I hope I can do for the people I care about. Those are the things I hope I can teach and show my daughter. Whenever I looked at Gramma, I could see in the way she looked at me that she was proud. I think that's just the most important thing. Everyone needs someone in their life who can make them feel like they're worth something and as if they can do anything they put their mind to, and she has always been that person for me. Without her encouragement and her confidence in me, I’m sure I would not be the same person I am today. I wouldn't have all of the good things in my life that I have if it weren't for her. I wouldn't have gone down the same paths.

Grampa Harold and Gramma Hazel


Heather: We have so many great memories of Gramma Hazel that we will never forget. She taught us so many lessons and had qualities that can never be replaced. We love our Gramma so much and are so grateful for all the special times we had with her. We hope to live our lives like Gramma did and have the effect on someone that she had on us.

On their wedding day


Ashley: We miss you, Gramma Hazel, and love you so much. A bigger bunch—as she would say.

Gramma at the lake with a 'nice bass' as her caption said


Gramma on the right next to her mom and two sisters


Gramma with baby poodles at the lake


Gramma with Heather and Me




Our Gramma :)


with Alfie at the house in Grey Eagle

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