Monday, April 2, 2012

remembering Dommie

Dorothy Kentzel
march 26, 1917 - march 29, 2012

my incredible grandmother passed away last week, 3 days after her 95th birthday. she was a truly remarkable woman in every way. (for details on her life, you can read her obituary here if you'd like.) i was able to fly to indiana to be with her at the end, which was amazing; i've never had an experience like that.

she was a huge influence on my life and i will miss her more than i can possibly say. i am so so so incredibly lucky to have had her in my life as long as i did. she was always there for me. when i had a difficult decision to make, she was the one i would call to help me make it. she was loving and strong and caring and kind and compassionate. i am not very good at this; i cannot say what i am trying to say about her.

dommie's favorite flower was the pansy. she really loved pansies. as a tribute to her, and as catharsis for me, i have been making these pansy necklaces for the women in my family.

the idea started because i realized i could create the flower out of four hearts, the larger one to represent dommie, and the three smaller ones to represent her three daughters.

one of the reasons she loved pansies so much is because of the image of an angel inside.
i tried to portray that.

this is the one that i made for myself. the star is a bead from a necklace that she gave me for my wedding.

the ship (with her birthstone on the sail) is because of this:

what is dying?
a ship sails and i stand watching until she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says "she is gone." gone where? gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large as when i saw her. the diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her. and just at that moment, when someone at my side says "she is gone," there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices that take up a glad shout, "here she comes!" and that is dying.

dommie asked us to read this to her over and over again in hospice. it brought her so much peace. she and i talked about who was waiting for her, and how happy they were that she was coming. and, she told me that she would be waiting for me when i came.

(dorothy, her name, is my middle name. when i was little i never liked it; people made wizard of oz jokes. now i feel so honored.)

before i left, my aunt asked me if there was anything i wanted to take. i took a sweater and a scarf of hers to wear on the plane, and a wonderful amish doll that she had made. i also took this necklace. it was the very first bezel set necklace that i ever made, half my life ago, and i sent it to her.

this world will never be the same now that the matriarch of our family is no longer here. and although i know that she had a very long and incredible life, there is no way i can describe how much i will miss her.


Cinder said...


I am so sorry for your loss.
Your grandma sounds like a wonderful woman.

The pansy necklaces are a beautiful wearable memorial. I love the symbolism.
It was a blessing that you could be with her in her final days.
The poem she had you read to her is so comforting.

Peace to you and your family.


Rag and Stone said...

The pansies are such a beautiful way to honor such a lovely woman. Thinking of you in your time of loss and mourning. Much love from Montana.

Lost Sierra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lost Sierra said...

Thank you for sharing such a meaningful journey. Your pansy creation is one of the most beautiful of expressions. Which has touched us all.

Emily said...

What an absolutely beautiful eulogy for your grandma. you made me cry I'll admit. makes me realize how hard it's going to be when my own grandma leaves this earth. I just love love love the analogy of dying compared to a ship sailing out of sight. beautiful heartbreak...... I'm a firm believer in life after death but that doesn't take away all the hurt and stinging grief of losing someone you love.
prayers and thoughts still coming your way :)

Emily said...

The word I was trying to think of was tribute...not eulogy. A beautiful tribute to your grandma :)
p.s. the pansy necklaces are just lovely as is the first bezeled piece you'd made long ago.

Casie said...

I read her obituary. What a well educated woman for a time when that wasn't common. My grandmother is 94 and I am amazed by all the women of that generation experienced and the battles they fought. To have been born before women had the right to vote and to go on to have two masters degrees... I should have known you came from good stock. :-)

spicyt said...

Hi Kristi! My condolences to you and your family. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Your work is truly amazing and it shows in your pansy necklaces. Love it! Continue to be strong and treasure every minute with your awesome family!

spicyt said...

Hi Kristi! My condolences to you and your family. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Your work is truly amazing and it shows in your pansy necklaces. Love it! Continue to be strong and treasure every minute with your awesome family!

Silver Sparrow Designs said...

thanks so much, ladies, for all of the sweet words. this loss has hit me much harder than i ever could have imagined. i appreciate the encouragement! xo

Jen said...


Your grandmother sounded like she was an incredible woman, I am sorry for your loss. The pansies are a beautiful and touching tribute to her. Your post brought tears to my eyes - not just for the passing of an amazing woman and the loss that must be felt by those who knew and loved her, but for the beauty in the emotions and words and the work you have made to honour her.

Poppy Q said...

How lucky you were to spend such a special time with your grandmother. I got to be with my mother, holding her hand as she died and asking her to be waiting for me when it was my time to go.

Your necklace is beautiful, and such a wonderful way to remember such a special woman.

Julie Q