Donnie's grandmother, Irene Beauchemin Carr passed on Monday this past week. I cannot write an adequate tribute, but can say that for me her presence added a lilting and joyous strain to the communal music of family life. Every time that I saw her, she had something kind to say to me (often about this blog). I came know her not only through conversations and time spent together at family gatherings, but also through witnessing the strength and goodness of her two daughters, my mother-in-law Kathy, and her sister Aunt Debbie.
Once, while perusing an album of the Sheehy family genealogy, I came across a old society page clipping. It was a record of Miss Irene Beuchemin’s coming out ball, written with a tone of great affection by the employees who worked with Irene's father. The clipping described her as a “French beauty” in a yellow taffeta dress. She would be attending the ball with the man who would later become her husband.
The image of Grammy as youthful debutante dovetailed with a story that my sister-in-law Colleen told at her bridal Shower. Colleen had accompanied Grammy dress shopping for a family wedding. Grammy, already in her late seventies, came swishing and twirling out the changing room in a formal gown. “I feel so pretty, I feel like a girl of sixteen!"
Such was Grammy's joie de vivre, that the girl in the yellow taffeta was very much present despite the passing of seventy three years. Bitterness seemed to have no hold in her. Even in the face of terminal illness, Grammy was joyful. She joked about “the trip” she was going to take. I'm forever indebted to her for her example of faith, courage and unrelenting positivity.