Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In Memory, Peggy Hem (Shugrue)

Who was your inspiration growing up?  Mine was my grandmother, Peggy.  Born Margaret Elizabeth Shugrue, she spent her early years in Uxbridge, MA.  She married Harry W. Hem, a Norwegian (she herself was full Irish).  5 children later they packed up the car and the dog and drove across the country to Seattle, WA.  4 Children were then born here in the Pacific Northwest (My mom being one of them!).

She was known as a great singer, and went by the name Peggy O'Neal.  She worked as a waitress and could always be counted on to give you a smile or a swat!  

Grams was a very special person in my life.  She inspired me to want to help others.  She showed me how to live your life with family and friends at the forefront, not monetary items.  She loved me endlessly and I knew it!  She also encouraged me to follow MY dreams, not anyone else's dream.   

Here's a great photo of the Young Peggy.

Grams moved in with us in 1992.  Living next door to her through my teen years was great!  She let me drive her car, we baked, we laughed, and she was there for me when I got into trouble.  I had even "moved in" with her once!  No matter what she was doing, she always had time for me to come and chat with her.

Grams passed this past December.  The day after my birthday, I was sitting with her reading the paper, and she opened her eyes, fully aware.  She had had another stroke, so she couldn't talk.  I just looked at her and I said, "I know Grams, they shoot old horses!".  She tried to laugh.  She smiled and gripped my hand.  I told her to sleep and rest.  After she closed her eyes, I cried.  This was my Grams.  She had been battling dementia for a few years, pretty bad.  She would look at me and say, What am I doing here?  They shoot old Horses you know?  I would normally tell her that I didn't want to do that, as I'd end up in jail!  She'd laugh it off and I'd tell her about my days.  But this time, when she opened her eyes back up, she was confused.  
Our laugh was the last full lucid moment I had with Grams.  

Three days later, with most of the family around her, she passed away while my aunts sang Goodnight Irene. 

I was missing my Grams today.  I have news to tell her.  She'd be so excited!  She's been there for every important event in my life.  Even when my Dad passed, she was there to hug me. 

Grammy with the family at cousin Andy's Wedding.

We miss you Grammy.  We know you're watching out for us!


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