Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grandma Thunell

Craig's grandmother, Florence Thunell, passed away last Friday at the age of 99.  

I loved this dear, sweet woman.  She was exactly the kind of grandmother I would like to be when I grow up…spunky, cheerful, positive, adventurous, tireless, and generous.  

Her home was always open, at any hour of the day or night, for visitors and she had a steady stream of grandchildren and great grandchildren every time I was ever there.  The best thing about going to Gr Thunell's house was that there was always food…always!  I have a giant emotional connection with food.  Food equals love.  Cooking for people means you love them.  Offering food to people means you care about them and want them to be comfortable.  Grandma Thunell always offered us food when we came to her house, no matter where we had come from or how long we were able to stay.  If she didn't have anything ready, she would find something or make something.  I remember going to her house once when I was uncomfortably pregnant and exhausted.  She took one look at me, asked me how I was feeling and didn't even bother to wait for my answer.  She just walked into the kitchen, made me a ham sandwich (which I happily devoured) and then put a blanket in the guest bedroom and told me to go take a nap.  I think I slept through that entire visit.

And in case you were ever feeling too polite to bother Grandma for a sandwich, she made sure there were treats scattered abundantly around her house.  The kids always knew exactly where to find the peanuts, candy, mints, containers of freshly baked cookies or rolls, or some other delicious thing…and somehow, whenever I was there, that sweet woman had some homemade divinity stashed away in a secret spot for me.  Oh, I loved that stuff!  For me, Grandma's house meant warmth, food, and comfort.  I'm sure I will never look at shrimp salad, orange rolls, eclairs, or divinity without thinking of Grandma Thunell.

By the time I came into the family, Grandma was no longer driving.  But she never turned down an opportunity to go an adventure.  She loved to go for long drives with her sons.  She loved family get togethers.  She loved being in motion and trusted all those sons and grandsons completely with her safety.  I'm sure that in her later years, it became much more uncomfortable for her to get into a car or go to a wedding reception or family function, but she never missed one, and she never complained.  I would like to be like that some day.  

Grandma had an amazing memory, too.  She always knew the latest news about every single child, grandchild and great-grandchild in the family.  She knew where her missionaries were serving, who was graduating from high school, and which kid had which talent.  She knew every new baby's full name.  She remembered every birthday in the family.  And she had that sweet way of making every grandchild who visited feel like they were her favorite.   

I am so grateful for the legacy of love, warmth and boundless energy that Grandma Thunell left for all of us.  I absolutely adore this woman.  And if, in my 80s and 90s, I am still energetic enough to host giant holiday dinners for my entire family complete with homemade rolls, I will attribute that to the influence of Craig's lovely grandmother.  I miss her already.

Florence Esther Wallace Thunell
June 25, 1914 - December 6, 2013


  1. My dear friend, I am sorry for your loss...
    I am thankful you shared this wonderful lady with us...
    I feel as if I knew described her and her life and loves so well!
    I can only pray that I am able to live the type of life that imparts such wonderful memories on my loved ones hearts and minds.
    Prayers for you and your hubby as you miss her. : )

  2. Please forgive my delay in passing along my condolences! I had been trying to comment from my phone this past week (while waiting for someone to finish some sort of after school practice) but couldn't.

    I am so sorry for the loss of this dear woman! You have posted such a beautiful memorial for her. I, too, feel as though I knew her personally by the love that poured out of your heart onto the computer. No matter what the age, a life is precious and when that life passes, we are left with an empty space. May you always find comfort in your memories of her! God bless!

  3. Beautiful post. Loss at Christmas time is so bittersweet. I have just come home from Utah after the passing of my aunt. It's tough, but so grateful for the hope and knowledge of a plan. Heavenly reunions must be pretty sweet. Merry Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful season!