Late on Thursday, Lucille O’Connor, Erin’s grandmother, passed away. She was ninety years old.
Her passing was far from unexpected. Even so, the O’Connor clan is gathering in Vermillion to mourn. Erin is feeling fortunate that she had a chance to get up to Vermillion last week to see her.
Lucille was a remarkable woman, not least because she and her husband Howard raised eleven kids — including two sets of twins. Erin tells me that there were, at one point, five children in diapers in her family. And she helped run a farm.
I can’t fathom that. My hands are full enough dealing with Vivian and Nora, and I know that I’m not alone in thinking this, from watching poor grandpa Eric go a little bit white when he’s faced with the prospect of watching both kids at once (but which he still agrees to do, many thanks there). But then, before Vivian was born, I wondered how I’d be able to handle the task of raising her. Before Nora was born, I wondered how I’d be able to handle the task of raising the pair of them. But I coped. And I guess this is what Lucille epitomizes: she had tremendous strength within her to do what she did. And for that, I have to say that I was always a bit in awe of her.
She knew the love of a wonderful husband in Howard, and she was surrounded by a loving family. The O’Connor clan welcomed me with open arms, and I have to think that that hospitality flowed from the top. I didn’t know her as much as I perhaps should have, given that I was over a thousand miles away, but she loved her great grandchildren, and made us a part of her family with her monthly letters. Truly a great grandmother. I will miss not being able to see her anymore when I visit Vermillion.
Lucille died in her sleep beside the man she’d loved and been married to for sixty-five years. As grandpa Wendell said, you cannot ask for a fuller life, or a better ending, than that.