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September 25, 2014

Grandma Marcia

Today I reached one of my professional goals: being featured by Style Me Pretty. But the reasons I’m thrilled have nothing to do with my work. 

What began as an inspiration shoot for weddings has become, for me, a tribute to the most amazing woman I know, my grandmother, Marcia.

 Grandma Marcia with her three daughters, then and now

Grandma Marcia with her three daughters, then and now

This project began last year when three of us wedding professionals sat down to brainstorm ideas for a springtime styled shoot. I suggested the idea of working from a cultural inspiration and explained, as an example, my own Frisian Dutch heritage. 

I showed off the many Dutch antiques I’d collected and inherited over the years, including a stunning antique coffee set that my Grandma Marcia had given me for my wedding. I think all the pretty things sealed the deal for my colleagues, but I’m sure my excitement about the idea didn’t hurt. 

 The antique Dutch coffee cups, as used in our shoot

The antique Dutch coffee cups, as used in our shoot

For years, I’ve been a bit of a geek about Dutch culture. The person I have to thank for my infatuation is Grandma Marcia. 

When I was a teenager, she gave me books like The Hiding Place and Things We Couldn’t Say, and said I could be proud of my Dutch heritage. As I got older, she told me stories about her stoic Frisian grandmother and tough Frisian mother and the hardships they endured starting out here in the United States. Five years ago, when she gave me the coffee set, she included the story of the Dutch woman who survived World War II, brought the coffee set to America, and gave it to Grandma Marcia before succumbing to cancer. 

 Grandma Marcia with her husband, Grandpa Ken, at the counter where they have welcomed and fed countless people

Grandma Marcia with her husband, Grandpa Ken, at the counter where they have welcomed and fed countless people

Today, it’s my Grandma Marcia who is in her last days fighting cancer. The battle started seven years ago with breast cancer, and, through it all, my Grandma has stubbornly maintained her great sense of humor and constant concern for those around her. During that time, she has sent me letters, packages, and emails just to let me know she is thinking of me and spent hours on the phone listening to me and encouraging me through a whole host of changes and challenges. 

 Grandma Marcia with two of her daughters and me: four tough Frisian women and a load of firewood

Grandma Marcia with two of her daughters and me: four tough Frisian women and a load of firewood

I can’t say enough about this woman who has always put others before herself and loved with her whole heart. It has been an honor and a blessing to know her and be part of her family.

 Grandma Marcia surrounded by her family, celebrating her 75th birthday

Grandma Marcia surrounded by her family, celebrating her 75th birthday

As Grandma Marcia crosses over from earth to heaven, I am so thankful that she can see one more way that the knowledge, beauty, and joy she brought to others will continue rippling out into the world. 

 Our bride and groom for the shoot: Grandma Marcia's grandson Jon and his wife Grace

Our bride and groom for the shoot: Grandma Marcia’s grandson Jon and his wife Grace

Grandma, you are as beautiful and beloved as any bride. Thank you for the many, many gifts you have given me—not least being the knowledge that I am your granddaughter. 

 Grandma Marcia with my family on my wedding day

Grandma Marcia with my family on my wedding day

Many thanks to all the talented people who made this shoot possible (see them here!). And thanks, again and again to Grandma Marcia, who helped me have the strength to pursue my dreams. 

 

 

 

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