In Loving Memory

On January 28th, 2019 my grandmother, Jane Burton Wagner, flew up to heaven to be with my grandfather, James. I cannot comprehend how it felt to be miles away in a complete different country while she passed away back home. I’ve been struggling over the last week to figure out how to cope with this loss, so I’ve decided to write. Ultimately, I would like to dedicate this blog post to her, as I know she is watching over me.

Growing up, my sisters & I often visited my grandparents in Phoenix, Arizona. Each trip I would spend the scorching days with my grandma playing endless games of solitaire and sudoku, picking oranges off the fruit trees in the backyard, & driving around the retirement community in the golf cart. I remember watching West Side Story & talking about how much we hated nuts in our bunny tracks ice cream. We’d make constant trips to the pool & the community library, searching for more fun things to do together. Some days, she’d show me her old photographs as well as retell the story of how her and grandpa met. My favorite moments were when she always compared our height difference, calling me “shortie” even though I was obviously taller than her from a young age. I may not have inherited your height genes grandma, but one gene I did inherit are your blue eyes. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Wedding Day
New Jersey, 1954

Beyond traveling to AZ, we also made trips most summers to Siesta Key, Florida. We called this our annual “family reunion”. At Siesta each summer season, we spent several weeks laid out on the white sand beach underneath cabanas with our closest family friends that we’ve stayed in touch with for generations. Our daily activities included swimming, partying, laughing, & of course – burning (well maybe I was the only one burning, haha). It was a time to enjoy each other & escape the stresses of life back home. Grandma & I would go on long walks near the shore to find seashells & sand dollars until our feet started to ache. Oddly enough, some of my fondest memories of Siesta Key were our first-week grocery trips to Publix where Grandma & I would run straight to the dessert section (no surprise, as she had a large sweet tooth).

At the end of it all, my grandmother’s dementia caused her to struggle to remember many of the things I just mentioned above. As her disease worsened over the last five or so years, my family made sure to remember for her. To remember the memory of her loving husband, caring family & friends, & the amazing life she lived. I am beyond thankful to have experienced 20 years of shared life with my Grandma Jane. Rest in Peace.

Love Your Granddaughter,



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