Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grandma Jaylene

 My beautiful Grandma Jaylene passed away one month ago. She was such a big part of my life. She was pretty much my only babysitter - ever - and I lived with her or next to her for a good chunk of my life. I will miss her every day.

I had the wonderful opportunity to write several things for Grandma's funeral. Writing is very therapeutic and has helped me get all my thoughts down. I want to record them all here so that I never forget. 

When I Think About Grandma
When I think about Grandma, I can’t pin down any particular events or stories that impacted me. Instead, remembering Grandma is like recalling every single defining moment in my life. Grandma gave me my personal definition of what it means to be a woman. She taught me that a true woman knows what she wants and is brave enough to make a change if needed. A true woman fights for herself and her family. And, occasionally, a true woman fights with her family if they are being knuckleheads. A true woman expects respect and will not settle for less. A true woman forgives those who don’t recognize her greatness, but also doesn’t waste her time on them. A true woman knows the secret to making the best Thanksgiving stuffing ever, but really doesn’t need to know how to sew more than a button on. A true woman never leaves the house without her eyebrows and lips done, but also has a comfy pair of slippers waiting at home. A true woman will ask for your opinion, but always make her own decisions. A true woman refuses to be defined by someone else. A true woman will sacrifice everything to make it to an event – no matter how small the event and how great the sacrifice. A true woman keeps her mind healthy. And a true woman always flirts with married men 50 years younger than her. But, most importantly, a true woman loves her children and grandchildren with every second, every penny, and every fiber she possesses. So, every time I see a penny slot machine or hear a curse word from a sweet old woman’s mouth or eat a walnut or do a crossword puzzle or forget my coat in the middle of a snowstorm, I will think of my Granny-pants and know that a little bit of her craziness has lived on through me. And, every time I pray, I will hope that some of her amazingness has also found its way into me, too.
-          Love, Kasie

My Letter to Grandma

July 4, 2012
Dear Granny Pants,
                I will never forgive myself for not calling you last week. You taught me to listen to my promptings and then follow them. I was out jogging, and I just had this huge feeling that I should call you to say hi. But then I came home and that call never happened. You passed away the next day. I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I didn’t call you to tell you one more time that I love you. To ask for your advice on cooking. To hear that funny little squawking noise you make when you laugh. I am so sorry that I couldn’t tell you one more time that I think about you every day.
                I hope you know the huge impact you had on my life. You helped to raise me. You are the only babysitter I’ve ever had. You and Mom, together, helped to define who I am.
                I always counted myself as extremely lucky. Most kids had crazy grandmas that were hard to talk to and a little scary. I had you. You were always there. You were always present. And you were always impactful. I valued your opinion on everything – cooking, dating, clothes, religion, womanhood, and life.
                I hope you know that I honestly meant it every time I told you that you were beautiful. You defined beauty. You aged gracefully, sported your gray hair like a pro, and had the most killer smile every. I will do a happy dance if I am half as gorgeous as you.
                I hope you know that you taught me what it means to be a woman and a family. You were my model for both. I blame my feminism on you. I can’t believe what a strong independent woman you were when such a thing was unheard of. You taught me that women deserve to be happy and shouldn’t settle for less. You taught me to fight back. You taught me to believe in myself.
                And now, I think the hardest thing for me is knowing that you won’t be there as the model of womanhood for my two girls. You won’t be there to approve of their dates or help pick out their wedding dresses. You won’t be there to tell them they are being stupid or that they can do anything they can dream. You won’t be there sitting in the stands watching every performance.
                But, you know what? I have decided that is okay. Because you raised my amazing mom, who will be in the stands at every stupid performance. And you raised Kamie, who will be there to tell my girls that they should dream, and dream big. And you raised me, and I will do my best tell them when they are being stupid.
                So, Granny-pants, know that I love you fiercely and will miss you every millisecond of every day. You will be thought of at every party, holiday, and event. And, someday, I know that we will hug again, and that Jer will be able to poke your nose – for all eternity.
Love you immensely,

Grandma's Obituary

Our fiercely loved mother, grandmother, and friend Mabel Jaylene Wood was called home on July 2nd, 2012, after cardiac complications. Loved by her friends and family, Jaylene devoted her life to family and service.
She was born on October 18, 1938 in Lehi, Utah to James William Price and Audrey Lorraine Johnson. Jaylene attended Lehi High School where she played basketball, was first chair Violin, and sang with the “Gayettes.”  She continued singing with the “Sweet Adelines” for several years. She graduated from Mary Kawakami College of Beauty and was a practicing beautician. Later she continued the family tradition by dedicating her life to nursing others back to health. She retired from the Utah State Developmental Center after 30 years of service.
Jaylene focused all of her time and attention on family: Gary, son of George Wesley Sykes (married 1958), Marie and Bill, children of Lyle LeGrand Wood (married 1967), and step-mother to Cory Wood and Julie Hill.
Jaylene was an inspiration. She was a strong, independent woman who taught her children the meaning of family, dedication, and hard work. She welcomed all into her home and became “mom” or “grandma” to many throughout her life. Her testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was solid and unwavering. She had a love of singing and spent all of her time involved in her children’s, grandchildren’s, and great-grandchildren’s lives. The life of the party, Jaylene could be found at every game, performance, event, party, or activity, where she would entertain with her contagious sense of humor. She was always present and impactful on the lives of her family.
She is survived by many family and friends who will cherish her memory, including her sons Gary (Robyn) Wood, William “Bill” Wood, and daughter Marie (Stephen) Jeffery Bright, as well as six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her brother James William Price, who welcomed her home.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 7th at 11:00 a.m at Wing Mortuary 118 East Main Lehi, Utah 84043. Friends may call Saturday from 9:30 a.m. before the services. Burial in the Lehi Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to the family at

Love you, Granny Pants!