Monday, August 24, 2015

Living Gracefully

Today was a memorial for my 93 year old neighbor Grace who embodied her name in so many ways. The service at Mission Santa Clara was a tribute to a woman who spent much of her life giving of herself. 

She was like another grandma to my kids and I. She knew all the children in our little court and  remembered their birthdays with little cards with checks and a sweet note. On Halloween each neighborhood child got a brand new $2 bill she ordered from the mint! I loved to chat with her when I caught her running out to lunches or meetings for her beloved Catala Club, Art Docents, or Red Hat Society or visiting her dear sister. We liked to deliver her little bouquets from our yard and Christmas cookies and she sent us the kindest note throughout the year. 

What amazed me about Grace like others of her generation, was her positive outlook and gracious way with people. Ladies of her times made an effort to show up, give of their time, make others feel good, and always had a kind word, despite personal struggles and adversity. They put their families and friends before themselves and worked tirelessly to do for others less fortunate. I am inspired by Grace who lived with many illnesses in her later years, yet soldiered on never missing a commitment and nary a complaint. When I think of people I admire most it's these women who lived through wars, depressions, illnesses, and family losses, yet always made the best of things.

Women today could learn a lot from these past generations who really made this world a lovelier place with their lives.  Because they were children of the depression, they never took a thing for granted nor failed to appreciate anything. If you have the good fortune to have a grandma or an elderly neighbor, treasure them. Spending time each week with my 98 year old grandma has made me appreciate that and care less about trivial crud. It's helped me realize it's the connections we make with others in life mean everything. Grace knew that so well. She touched everyone who knew her and you never walked away without a smile or a little chuckle.

Grace's son read this poem and it was fitting for our sweet Grace.


To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of the intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others; 

to leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;

to know that one life has breathed easier 

because you lived here.

This is to have succeeded. 
Grace really did leave the world a better place. She inspires me to try harder to do the same in some little way each day. I feel so lucky to have known her.


Grace photos courtesy of Bill Sautter Family.


  1. Such a lovely tribute to a seemingly wonderful lady! I had a neighbour - though not as nice as Grace truth be told! But she led such an interesting life and she had that keep calm and carry on thing about her. She had worked in the US embassy during the war, ran a BB in the Cotswolds, went back to Arkansas for a few years to help her parents during their final years, came back to work with Spike Milligan. I remember she said she was never so busy she couldn't take a scotch break at 6 pm until her dying day. So sweet of you as to write this memorial of her too Kim xx

    1. Thank you Naomi, she was one of a kind. I think your neighbor sounds like a an amazing woman too...Love the scotch break! She had her priorities right! xo

  2. What a beautiful post. She was very beautiful, I say that with hesitation because really beauty has no value past a certain age, but still, we notice it. Her longer lasting virtues are those which have led you to write this post, I think that kindness and integrity are everything in life.

    1. Tabitha, As my grandmother would say pretty is as pretty does, but she was both, inside and outside beautiful. Kindness and Integrity are really all that matters I think.

  3. Your tribute is beautiful but makes me sad I never had the opportunity to meet her. So funny that we have the most to learn from those individuals we are most likely to rush past. Grateful for a friend like you who takes time to see the beauty in others.

    1. Aimee, thank you for that sweet note. I do wish you got to know her too.

  4. Very well said! And, so true about the women and men in that generation. This is the second writing I read today about leaving a legacy - building character instead of a resume. Grace sounds like a lovely woman - so glad you spent time with her. I am fortunate to have my 88 year old mother who is like Grace. I cherish every minute and day I have with her as I did my father and grandmother. Thank you for sharing your tribute to such a beautiful woman.

    1. Thank you!! I love the idea of building character as we focus too much on the resume in life, right? Wonderful you have your 88 year old mom and it sounds like you treasure her!

  5. Tears to my eyes Kim!! Thanks for reminding us of the real treasures in life! Love this Post

    Thank you! Well written and so true about that generation! KK

    1. Kath thank you for saying that. I really feel they are a special breed these ladies!

  6. What a beautiful tribute! And yes I agree, the older generation knows how to always see the best in things. I hope I got that from both my positive parents. Love ya, Chick.


  7. Hey Kimmee--Loved this very honest and true take on a lovely lady. These women of days past, despite their hardships, were stronger and happier than on the whole women are today. These ladies rejected self-victimization and entitlement and instead embraced duty and selflessness, in turn making the world a little better around them. May she rest in peace.

  8. What an inspiration! I agree about women of that generation (including my amazing 85 year old mom-the newlywed) they give so much and with such grace. That quote is perfection and seems to capture the essence of your dear friend Grace. Heartfelt post, Kim dear.

  9. This is so beautiful Kim. Women like this are so inspiring! Her gentle expression tells the storyof her spirit. A lovely lady, to be sure. I aspire to be this sort of lady.

  10. Lovely tribute to your neighbor Kim! I had a neighbor like that living next door to me for 14 years...she was in her 80's and moved to Oregon 3 years ago to be closer to family. I really missed her a lot in the beginning and still do but talk to her from time to time.


  11. Grace is completely inspiring and I admire her so much right along with you! That poem about Success, that is the definition of the word, that's the success we should be striving for in the world.
    So lovely Kim, thanks for sharing this. XO