Saturday, March 29, 2014


My grandma, Betty Schwittek
My grandma passed away yesterday morning.  I don't think it's fully hit me yet, though the sadness is palpable.  I wish I could do more for my mom.  She was down in Florida with my grandma, at least, but I feel sort of useless.  I wish I could have gone down with her.  I'm glad I was able to go down to Florida when I did, though it was really heart-wrenching, since my grandma was in a lot of pain and wasn't the Betty I always knew.  I know she would want to be remembered in a different way.

My grandparents on their wedding day -- February 9th, 1946
My grandma was always a social butterfly.  She married my grandpa (who passed away in 2011) when she was 17.  She loved music, and I think she would have pursued a career in it, had she been able.  She was part of the Sweet Adelines for many years, and I feel proud that my grandma, mom and I all had a shared affinity for -- and love of -- singing.  She went to see my mom sing in seedy, smoky clubs, and I feel fortunate she was able to see me in a few things, too.  I always loved to hear her hum a little snippet of something, and she had such a gift for storytelling.

Mom, Grandma and me -- my first trip to Florida
She always reminded me of Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls, though my grandma was very quick-witted (and not at all vapid).  She loved that show as much as my mom and I do, and given that she was a Minnesota girl with Swedish roots who spent the last part of her life in Florida, the similarities are pretty clear.  I have such fond memories of visiting her and my grandpa in Florida as a kid.  We would go shopping (my grandma loved clothes as much as my mom and I do), go out to dinner at our favorite Floridian restaurants... we would sometimes rent a boat and go out on the Gulf.  I miss the smell of the air down in Naples.  I can never describe what it is, but it's one of my favorite smells in the world.  I still have dreams about her and my grandpa's old house.  I miss swimming in their big pool and exploring all of the beautiful rooms.  She always decorated in shades of peach and teal.  

My grandma and grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary
In earlier days, she had acrylic hot pink nails with lips to match.  She was wonderfully funny, and had a great memory, even up to the end.  She liked to golf, loved cats and could quote any episode of Seinfeld you could imagine.  She loved my grandpa with all her heart.  I don't know what I believe, as far as heaven is concerned, but I really hope they're together again now.  I wish I had been able to spend more time with her, or go back in time to experience all our Christmases and Easters and vacations with her and my grandpa again.  That's greedy on my part.  They always made me feel so special, and all of my childhood memories that involve them are so happy.  I feel so lucky to have had her for a grandma.

I love you 100, Grandma.


  1. Sammi

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

    I would like to extend my sympathies to you.

    Take care


  2. So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and sympathies to you and your family <3

  3. what a beautiful, beautiful lady.
    so sorry for you, and the world, who has lost this darling woman.
    i';m sure she was an absolute pleasure to know.
    best wishes to your and your family.
    God bless :)


  4. I am so sorry for you loss Sammi, just take each day as it comes. You are a wonderful person! Take care, my sympathies to you and your family.

    Love Rhiannon

  5. Sorry for your loss <3 She sounds like an amazing lady! The picture with you, your mom and grandma.. you can feel the love in it!

  6. Sammi, this is such a touching, sweet tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss- she sounds like an amazing woman with a great influence on your life. Big hugs!

  7. You were lucky to have had each other. Treasure the memories!

  8. Sammi, our deepest sympathy to you and your family. how lucky you are to have such vivid memories of such a vibrante person. you will have many stories to share with family and friends for many years to come, keeping her spirit close to your heart

  9. Such a beautiful tribute to your lovely Grandma. You describe her just as I remember her too. Much love to you and your whole family.

  10. So sorry for your loss Sammi. Your grandma seems like such a great person. I'm sure she was.

  11. I hope, if the sadness hits you, that you can come back here and read about what a wonderful lady your Grandmother was. This is the perfect tribute and brings some tears to my eyes as I remember my fathers life.

    Take care of yourself and take the time you need to heal in this moment.

  12. I am sorry for your loss. I recently lost my grandfather as well, so I know what you're going through. I wish I knew how to ease my mom and grandmom's pain as well. This too shall pass. I'm sending you and your family love and although we don't know each other very well, if you ever need to talk, feel free to do so <3

  13. what a beautiful and touching tribute to your grandma! sending you and your family lots of love and prayers. Beautiful photos, especially the one with you and your nan and you in curlers! xxxxx

  14. i'm so sorry to hear about your grandma. it's about two years since i lost my grandmother and it's still really upsetting to think about. your grandmother sounds like such a lively, fun woman. my condolences to you and your family xx

  15. I'm so sorry to hear about this. My own grandmother passed about two years ago and I still need to take moments to shed a few tears every now and then. Sending love and sunshine in these times. <3Mariah


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