For Hazel's Memorial


I had known Hazel for 5 years - far less time than most of you. Over those five years, I had seen Hazel deal with many losses. First, she stopped driving and sold the car. Later, she sold the house and moved into an assisted living apartment. She broke her hip, and went to a nursing home. From the nursing home, she moved into our house, where she lived for the last 7 or 8 months.

Through it all, Hazel's love of life shone through. At Thanksgiving, there was always room for friends who were going to spend the holiday alone, or going through difficult times. Hazel loved her friends and family. New friends would quickly hear about her children, grandchildren, and especially her great grandchildren.

How many of us think of nursing homes in a positive way? If you asked Hazel about her brief stay in one, she'd tell you how wonderful the people were to her. Hazel felt her losses too, but life today, in whatever form, always won out.

When Hazel moved in with us, she was confined to a wheelchair, and would stay in one until the end. It slowed her down, but it didn't stop her. Sundays at the First Baptist Church or the Burton Church on Vashon were events to look forward to, along with visits with friends and family.

In the Fall, we talked to Hazel about a trip to Hawaii. It may sound a little crazy, being confined to a wheelchair, in constant pain and in declining health. In spite of all that, Hazel was ready to go - after all, she had never been there, and had wanted to go for many years. Hazel managed the airplanes, the cars and the steps of the house we rented (eyes closed).

In Hawaii, December 2000

My favorite moment with Hazel in Hawaii was at the beach near our house. Swimming and wading in the ocean wasn't possible, but that didn't stop Hazel. With Cara and I at the fore and aft, we pushed and pulled Hazel through the loose sand down to the surf. With the front wheels buried in the sand and surf, Hazel got to put her feet in the ocean to feel the waves. It may not have been very good for the wheelchair, but Hazel sure enjoyed it.

Two weeks after we returned from Hawaii, Hazel passed away. While I will miss Hazel very much, I also know that her love of life and the million ways she touched our lives are worth celebrating.

Cliff Goodman, grandson-in-law January 21, 2001