My grandmother is on a journey. I hope there are French bikes in Heaven!

le paradis (pah-rah-dee) noun, masculine
    : paradise
    : the gallery, the gods

le Paradis terrestre = the Garden of Eden
le paradis fiscal = tax haven
l'oiseau de paradis = bird of paradise
aller au / en Paradis
= to go to Heaven

My Grandma Audrey passed away yesterday. My sister made the call and I could hear the news in her voice before the words were delivered.

"I tried to call her several times this week..." I answered.
"I did too," Heidi assured.

I thought about the nursing home, where my grandmother spent the last season of her life. I pictured a television on the wall, from which inspiration often struck her, at which point she would become the heroine from the latest show... or infomercial:

"I'm wearing my pretty white sundress," she told me, last time we talked on the phone. "We're having a beauty contest this afternoon--and *I* am in the running!"

"Do you think you'll win?" I asked, playing right along with this latest production, "The Nursing Home Beauty Contest".

"Oh, I'll give it my best shot!" Grandma said, and I could almost hear her smoothing down her "dress" in pride and admiration of it. But a sundress in snowy Salt Lake City? I could never tell, during one of these conversations, whether Grandma was pulling my leg or, more likely, living in her imagination. Her voice was always so clear, sprinkled with a touch of Southern Stubborn.

* * *

"She is in a better place now," my sister stated, comfortingly.

I have to believe that Heidi is right. Still, as I look into the mirror this morning, at the long face staring back at me, I find my faith faltering again.

"If I truly believed in Heaven," I reasoned, I wouldn't feel guilt or regret right now--but relief! I'd feel happiness for my grandmother...."

* * *

I am spending the morning renewing my faith, not because it comforts me--but because faith is the "Instructions" book that guides me when I don't know where to step, when I can no longer see....

I am picturing my beautiful grandmother in her flowing white sundress! Beyond a shadow of doubt, it's now clear to see that my Grandma Audrey won that beauty contest, yes siree!; plucked up as she was in the night -- right out of her nursery home bed in time to collect her prize--that golden crown: Heaven's glimmering halo over her head.

*  *  *

Post note: During a recent call to our grandmother, my sister wanted Grandma to be sure to know that Jesus was waiting for her, and that she, too, would see Grandma again one day. Grandma joked, "That's what they tell me."

Last night at the end of her telephone call, Heidi encouraged me to call our mom, with whom she had just shared the news. "Remember," Heidi said, "(Our) mom has lost her own 'Mommy'." That last word went right to the heart and I could almost see my mom's plump 5-year-old hand, reaching up to try and clasp her mother's, ever searching for that connection.

Now for a request: Because my mom, "Jules", and my family read this column--and each and every comment--I would like to once again ask you to send *virtual* flowers to the comments box--this time for my Grandma Audrey and also for her loved ones: Jules, my Aunt Reta, my Uncle Rusty... also for my sister, Heidi, and my cousin Mike. 

Just pick a person & send a virtual fleur (i.e.: "tulips for Uncle Rusty from Rémi in Beaverton" or "kangaroo paw for Heidi from Gretel in Sydney" or "a magnolia for Aunt Reta from Fred & Nancy").

Click here to access the comments box (wait a few moments for it to load...), then instantly send in your flower.

With much appreciation (and dare I say love?) for bringing cheer to my family and me. I can't think of a better way to rendre hommage to Audrey. I hope you will agree.


Grandma Audrey with Jean-Marc (2005)
Visiting Jules, in Mexico (thank you, Mom, for the photos).

With all our love, Grandma!

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Beautiful yellow in bloom daffodils from Marie-Louise in Virginia Beach, Virginia


To Jules and family: a whole bunch of spriggins of johnny jump ups. If Grandma Audrey was Southern, she'd know what they are--and happier little fleurs never existed! Sympathy and grief are part of the process, and they pass, but the happiness of bright memories lasts forever. Here's a whole mess of johnny jump ups for y'all.

Marie Shepherd

I am sending a posy of snowdrops to Jules and all the family at this time of sadness, loss and loneliness.

Marie in London


A big bunch of sunflowers for Heidi from Leeann - a kiwi who lives in Castillonnes, SW France xxxx

Michael Tooley

Snowdrops for your sister Heidi and for you. The white reflects the sundress you mentioned and, here in England, the snowdrops provide a white (if transient)carpet in the woods near to us at this time of year.
Mike and Doreen.


A dear friend of mine died in a nursing home in SLC just this time last year. I lived in SLC for 30 years but now call St. Pierre and Miquelon my home. So, From Miquelon I send Snowdrops to Audrey and your mother and your whole family.

Machelle in Houston

A bunch of beautiful bluebonnets from Texas to your family during this season of loss. May the memories be treasured and sweet.

Angela Sargent

My sympathy to all your family for your loss - and a carpet of snowdrops.
I now have a huge bunch of snowdrops in my garden(flowering now)which came to me from my own grandmother,via my mother's garden.

Sussex. England

Dottie Bennett

Pink roses for Kristin, who didn't ask for any for herself! from Dottie in Alabama


Bluebells for Audrey, Jules and the entire family from snowy upstate New York! They blossom in profusion by the creek near here a week or so before Mothers' Day.

Natalie Branchini

A peach rose for Jules. Beautiful women run in your family. I wish you the warmth of fond memories as you go through these next few days, months, years. Blessings...

Natalie in Florida

Beth Beatrice

Cheerful tulips for Jules, Kristin and Heidi. Your family brings joy to so many. So sorry for the loss of your beloved mother/ grandmother. God bless you.

Beth in Cincinnati

Caroline Weiss

Freesias for Kristin, Graham Thomas roses for Mom, and armloads of daffodils for all of your family. I "know" that she is in a beautiful place and is happy with our son and all the others! Linnie on the Delmarva Eastern Shore

Chris Colyer

Tulips for you and your family, Kristen and my deepest sympathies....may your memories of your grandmother overshadow the pain.

Chris in Kansas

Jean Marc

Black Eyed Susans for the whole family. My heart is with you.

Jean Marc (not that one) in Michigan

Joyce Hoover

To your whole family: Large pot of lily's of the valley. May Gma Audrey smell them all day long.


Spring Daisies to Jules, Kristin and the rest of the family. Thank you for sharing your joy and your sorrow. Sending many blessings your way. Norah in Arizona.


An armful of pale pink peonies for your clan, from outside NYC. My heartfelt condolences to you all.


My condolences on your loss. A big bunch of daisies and buttercups for you all ... bright and sunny to remind you of your grandma.

Jon North

To Kristin, Jules and all the family our sympathy and good wishes and (to look ahead a little in this fertile south of France, but as yet still cold and so devoid of many flowers) a carpet of poppies which clothe the fields here in a month or two. Jon xx

Allison Kerry

Pink and white tulips bowing to you, Audrey, from Allison
in Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Conine

A beautiful peace plant for your family, and remember: one of the brightest stars in the sky will smile on you this evening.

Liz from North Carolina

Debbie Chavers

Jules,Kristin,Jean-Marc, and your children,Heidi,Reta,Rusty,and Mike may God's peace which passes understanding be with you today and always and comfort you with love and memories of your times together. My family and I send you all a field of wildflowers whose planting and color arrangement pleased the Master. We also send you the herb Rosemary for rememberance..

Debbie Chavers and family


I will be in prayer for your entire family during this time! I am sending bird of paradise to all!

Nancy LoBalbo

A huge bouquet of Sunflowers in rememberance of your Grandma. Sympathies to you and your family.


Heavenly Blue morning glories and shimmering giant white moonflowers to celebrate Grandma Audrey's beautiful soul day & night, for Jules, Reta, Rusty, Kristin, Heidi & Mike, from Salem & Peter in Connecticut

Bill Lloyd en Libye

Une poignet de Frangipanis from Libya for l'oncle Rusty. They smell divine even though they are small. Wish I could attach a photo.
Mille Mercis Kristin, for sharing your beautiful life with us via this web page.


Tulips from Christine in Paris!


A long-stem red rose from Boston to each of you who grieves.

ginger hopper

Hot pink gerber daisies to Kristen, Heidi and Jules from Ginger in Alabama.


Un grand bouquet de fleurs mélangées à Audrey et à toute sa famille qui m'a si gentillement "adopté" comme un des leurs.


Jules, Uncle Rusty, Kristin, Heidi and Mike -- I'm lifting you all up in my prayers today, that you might be comforted knowing how happy your beloved was to share her full life with you. (It's clear from the photos!) She will only ever be a thought away, and I'm sure she will be waiting with excitement for the day that you will all be together again in paradis. Peaceful white roses for you all from Shannon in Alexandria, Virginia.

valerie lester

For Mike, a dogwood tree. (I find that planting a tree always helps with grief.)
A hug from Valerie in Annapolis

James R. Wilson

My thoughts and prayers are with each of you at this time of loss. Let's each in our own way sign up today for that beauty contest we want so badly to win.


i'll send a couple of fleurs that to me epitomize the south (the US south).....gardenias & camelias.....so sorry for your loss

Robert Cyr, Chicago, IL

For you, my dear heart, pearl-colored roses, for nobility of heart, from Rob, transplanted New Eglander.

Robyn France

To Jules--our most fragrant daphne shrubs are blooming as we speak--a winter bloomer with the most gorgeous perfume ever--it lifts my heart in winter while waiting for the Spring lift--and I hope it will lift your heart when u may be grieving. The photos of your mother are wonderul--what a beautiful person she will always be in your memory and your heart.


A Rosa gallica or Red Rose of Lancaster to all from Marietta, LAncaster County, Pa.

Linda Reynolds

A fistful of shooting stars, a beautiful fuchsia-colored wildflower, found on the hills and plains of Montana in early spring. Blessings to your family at this time of loss.


Gypsophilia - angel's breath for you are never alone!


Snowdrops and daffodils from Washington. May your heart find comfort that only God and time can bring.

Loretta Vandenberg

A big bunch of daisies and our heartfelt condolances on your loss.
from Millgrove, Ontario, Canada

Dianne in Toronto, Canada

A red rose for Gramdma Audrey and a full bouquet of spring flowers to you Kristin and Heidi and your families to extend my love to you at this sad time - Grandma's are most special people in our lives!


My deepest sympathy is extended to you and your family. I lost my own grandmother last month (similar circumstances as yours) so this post resonates with me as well.

Considering we are all children at heart, it is appropriate to offer virtual wildflowers (including dandylions).


a bouquet of wild violets in all their glorious colors, sparkling w/morning dew, to la famille de chere Mere/Grandmere Audrey.


A beautiful boquet of gerber daisies to celebrate the beautiful life your Grandmother lived & surely the love she shared with all she knew.


Much sympathy and a delicate posy of pale yellow primroses from Alexandria, Va.


What a lovely lady, what a lovely daughter, what lovely grand daughter, what a lovely great grand daughter - what more could you ask in life? Heaven will be a happier place this Mardi Gras! Lenten roses, I think, for each and everyone - best wishes and prayers - Janet

Rubena DerManelian

Mes condoléances. Rubena, Toledo, Ohio

Karen Whitcome

Dear Jules and family,
Your mother/grandmother looks as sweet as can be. I hope you will remember that she is with you always. Talk to her and look for her in the eyes of one another. I'm sending a "vase full lavender" to calm and soothe you all.


Condolences and white pear blossoms to compliment the white sundress.

Rebecca from Dallas, TX


A beautifully written post Kristen...I have fallen in love with your grandmother's wonderful smile and spirit captured in her photo with Jean-Marc. The people who touch our lives are truly gifts. Each one a flower...fragile, yet persevering, and beautiful.

I am picturing your grandmother heading off on her bike through a field of flowers...and send you rosemary for remembrance.

fondly, Heather in Maine


A glass jar full of Queen Anne's Lace, red poppies and summer wildflowers to you and your family.


I've been visiting your site regularly for awhile now but have never posted a comment. I just lost my grandmother last week, so I can relate. Her mind and body were slowly deteriorating over the last 3 years. So I can understand when you say that she's in a better place. God be with you all. May He grant you joy and peace.

Jules:White Orchids
Reta:White Tiger Lilies
Rusty:White Bougainvilleas
Heidi:White Water Lilies
Mike:White Chrysanthemums
Kristin & Jean-Marc:White Frangipanis

I have tried to send you flowers that grow in my homeland, Malaysia. Peace be with you.

Qian in KL, Malaysia.

Linda M.Davies

Love and Light to all your family, Kristin. I lost my own grandmother last spring, just as the first flowers were blooming. While I will always miss her with all my heart, I find myself smiling every time I cook one of her recipes, or share a story about her with my kids, or even wear one of her signature pieces of costume jewelry. Whenever I lose someone,I plant a lilac or broom. That way, they are with me again every spring as I work in my garden. So, for Jules and all your family, I wish a whole garden full of good memories. Linda from New York


I am sending Orchids for the family with much sympathy. My thoughts are with you. Leann in Edmonton, AB, Canada


I just lost my mother so I am sending you her favorites - roses - from Judy in Sarasota.


My deepest sympathy to your beautiful family... May your guardian angels wrap their magnificent wings around you all and envelope you in love during this time. A bouquet of fragrent Magnolia blossoms from Atlanta, Georgia.


My solitary white wood violet that I discovered Sunday peeking out underneath a still somnolent hydrangea bush is dedicated to the memory of your beloved Grandma Audrey. Its purple siblings are extended to you, Kristin, and to your family. And to your mother, Jules, I dedicate all the nascent hydrangea blossoms that will suffuse the barren space in Spring in shades of glorious royal blue. Please accept my deepest sympathy. Love to you all, Diane.


Hellebores (Lenten roses) for all of your family from Cheryl in Illinois. Their flowers are delicate shades, including white for the sundress, and their leaves are evergreen--an ever present reminder of your love for each other.

Kent Comfort

You grandmother Audrey is clearly a beautiful woman. So is your mother as we have seen from the pictures you have shared with us. Now we undertand your good fortune. Isn't it nice when the God of genetics chooses to smile at us?

I can tell from your voice in your writing that grandma Audrey enjoyed lots of 'heaven' in her life from her family members. No reason why that has to stop now. Your fond memories keep her safely there.


I am sending Gerbera Daisy's, pink and orange, one of the happiest flowers I know, to you and your family.

I know the heavy heart you carry now will eventually be lightened with nothing but wonderful memories. May the Peace of God be with you, and especially Jules, today and always.

All my love,
Kristine (Dallas)

Merrie Dail

cold this morning, but the sun shines brightly; red-tailed hawk lazily left its perch in nearby tree. What can I send of meaning - perhaps that you and yours will gather bouquets from the many shared moments. Maybe something found in a pocket or the way the sun falls on an object, some flicker of her presence. I am sorry for your loss.

Julie Schmidt

Stems of your favorites to each of you. The grip of grief is painful but has its place in shaping acceptance and perseverance. The most loving and lasting tribute is to live honestly and happily in honor of loved ones lost.

Angela Bell

Blessings and hydrangea blossoms from Mechanicsburg PA... Angela Bell


Lovely purple/blue ceanothus like that flowering in the El Cajon hills, outside San Diego, California


Thinking of you and your family at this time of so many transitions, Kristin. May your days be blessed with sunshine as bright as your grandma's smile, and a room filled with the light, fresh scents of freesia, bergamot and lily of the valley. My deepest sympathy......

Nora O'Hara

It's funny you should talk about holding hands, only because my favorite and comforting scripture is Isaiah 41:13, and says I Jehovah your God am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you Do not be afraid, I myself will help you. I my friend said when he prayed at night he would hold his hand up in the air so God could grasp it, and he felt comfort knowing that scripture. Fragrant gardenias to you from Florida.

Chris Kelly

A handful of shamrocks for the green -- and the unbroken line of all our ancestors.....your grandma was so fortunate to know her lovely grandchildren and ggrandchildren.


For everyone, but most of all to honour Audrey, a dozen white roses to match her white dress.


To you all, my condolences, and a fistful of tiny crocus for each, which are the first to bloom before spring. They are messengers of hope, springing forth from the barrenness and bitter cold of winter and heralding a new season of warmth and sunshine.

Janet Konig

Tiny crocuses from snowy western Pennsylvania - how wonderful to have gotten to learn from and love a mother/grandmother/sister (etc.) for as long as you all did!!
Janet Konig

Phyllis Adatto Smith

I send beautiful roses surrounded by snapdragons and pansies to the entire family. Remember - To live in the hearts of others is not to die. Thanks to your wonderful stories about your grandmother, your grandmother will be in the hearts of many people.


A giant bunch of sunflowers for Kristin. Mes Condoleances.
Jonni in Desert Hills Arizona

Jina in Westchester, NY

Here's rosemary for remembrance so that memories may bring comfort.

Judy Knudson

Dear Kristin,
A big bouquet of daisies with the wish that very soon you'll smile each time you think of her and something she did or said. I never knew any of my grandparents, so when you think of her, know how blessed you were to have her all these years and cherish your memories. My prayers and thoughts to all of you.

Helen Miller

Dear Kristin,

Here is the biggest sunflower I could find.
I hope its sunny face shines on you.
Your Grandmother looks like a very happy lady who enjoyed her life.
Helen, Philadelphia, Pa.


Roses and baby's breath for all.
Sorry to hear of your loss.
Life is so short.


For your entire family, I send a bush of my beautiful blooming pink azaleas from Wabasso, Florida. May your hearts' pain be replaced by the smiles from your memories. I will always miss the touch and the sound of my own mother and grandmother but I sense them walking beside me through this life.


A bunch of mexican wild “alcatraces” (calla lillies) for Kristin and all your family.
Receive blessings and my best wishes for your hearts to find peace and comfort soon.
Con cariño,
Andrea @ Austin, TX


A bunch of Lilly of the Valley to you and your entire family. I am sorry for your loss!

Kelly Bower

Sending armfuls of stargazer lilies to Jules, Reta, Rusty, Heidi, Mike, and most of all, Kristin. Your words bring much happiness and comfort to many. My heart is with your family at this time.

Karen Smith

A tangle of honeysuckle blossoms for Jules and the entire family - the sweet nectar is there inside, though we sometimes have to work to find it. From Karen in Princeton NJ. Blessings to all of you.


Condolences and a bouquet of fragrant lilies to Kristin and Jules from Christine in New York


Désolé pour votre perte. Mes condoléances. Edelweiss (floarea reginei-Queen's flower)for you and our family.

Allison, North Carolina


A bouquet of multi-colored Snapdragons for grandma, white Lilies for Jules, and pink and yellow variegated Tea Roses for Kristin.

Ann Diaz

Spring yellow daffodils to Jules. Let them remember the special things about your mother when you see them. My sympathy to you and your family.



Dear Kristin,
Des pivoines pour vous tous....may your sadness be diminished by the memories of a life well lived and the love of your family.


A field full of coquelicots to the wild spirit that is now free!

Monica, Idaho Falls, ID

A huge bouquet of purple and white lilacs for Kristin and for your grandma's spirit, wherever it may be. My grandmother died in snowy Utah last year too, and I still miss her. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and reflections you send in your postings.


PS There are French bicyclettes au paradis!


A bamboo plant to express my sympathies. Thank you for your beautiful, emotional, heartfelt post, Kristin. You and your family are in my thoughts. Your grandmother would have won any beauty contest, and not only due to her external grace. It is certainly clear from where you get your sparkle.

Edith Schmidt

Sending the first sweet Southern spring azalea in memory of Grandma Audrey.
Edie, Savannah, Georgia


Bouquets of flowers to everyone.

Barbara x

Jeanne Robinson

Years ago I was given a rare shrub called a viburnum bodentense. Unlike the usual white blooming variety, this one has small clusters of pinkish flowers that smell sweeter than you can imagine. And, in our little corner of Oregon, this shrub presents me with blossoms all winter long. I send each of you who grieve a sprig to remind you of your sweet memories during this sad and lonely time. God bless you all.

Jeanne in Oregon

PS Kristin, yes, she has probably already picked out her mansion and is filled with joy at seeing her Savior's Face, but missing her here and now is natural. Remember, this too shall pass.


From my garden, beautiful red roses, fit for a beauty queen. May you find joy in the memories of your life with her.

Annette Heat

Beautiful yellow forsythia, blooming now despite the cold....to you Kristin. "In one of the stars I shall be living; in one of them I shall be laughing; and so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night...and there is sweetness in the laughter of all the stars...and the memories of those you love." (Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery). Grandmother's are such gifts. Mine was my second Mother.
Annette of Norfolk, Virginia.


A bouquet of bright ranunculas, white roses for Jules. Sunflowers for Uncle Mike, wildflowers for Aunt Reta, Moonflowers for Heidi, hydrangeas for Cousin Mike. A big arrangement of orchids for Kristin, Jean-Marc, Max and Jackie. Kristin and Heidi-you DO have beautiful smiles like your Grandma! from Washington state

Mary Lou Fritts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupin - from Wyoming. Blessings and God's peace for your children - her great-grandchildren.


Vibrant, multicoloured primroses brighten the late winter days here on Vancouver Island....I hope their image helps you and your family with the loss of Grandmere Audrey...

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