Happy memories are the antidote to grief



Saying goodbye to a loved one who has died is never easy. There’s a nagging sadness that sticks in the recesses of your mind, and it’s a struggle to comprehend how a special person is no longer part of your life.

In my experience, I’ve found that dwelling on good memories of the deceased person helps to erase the pain of losing him or her. For the past week, I’ve had to go through that process to cope with the recent death of my grandmother, who passed away on Aug. 5 at the age of 92.

Margaret Louise Marvicsin, otherwise addressed as “Marge” by people who knew her well, was not your “typical” 90-something. For starters, she was undoubtedly one of the hardest-working individuals God has ever placed on the earth. Every spring and summer, she could be found dutifully mowing her own lawn, trimming trees and gardening—even up to her 92nd birthday this May.

When she wasn’t working outdoors, Grandma would be busy cooking or baking. She loved to prepare zucchini bread, brownies, cupcakes and all sorts of baked goods for my family and people in the community alike…even the trash pick-up crews got a bagful of goodies just about every Wednesday morning.

When we advised Grandma not to wear herself out over a project, she would emphatically reply: “I can’t sit on my buns and do nothing.”

Grandma’s work ethic arose largely from her childhood. Born to a coalmining family in Johnstown, Penn. in 1927, she quickly learned that hard work was necessary to help keep herself and her siblings alive during the Great Depression. She left home in her midteenage years to take on odd jobs, eventually making her way to the Metro Detroit area, where she met and married my grandfather, Emil.

Even after settling down and raising my mother, Grandma continued to take various job titles—from restaurant cook to shopkeeper to craftworker. She once told me that she could fill an entire memoir with all the jobs she held over the years.

Grandma’s background during the Great Depression also sparked her sense of generosity, particularly with kids. Having lost her mother at a young age, she strove to make the lives of children better, whether it was by donating frequently to a school of Native American students or baking treats for kids during the holidays.

Since Grandma has passed on, I’ve taken great comfort in remembering her hard-working ways and her giving spirit, rather than focusing on the difficult final days that she spent in the hospital. Her death has brought great sadness to our family, but we are thankful for the good times that we had with her.

Personally, I’m grateful that I got to spend many summer days helping Grandma with her lawn and around the house; that she got to see me graduate from college; and that she was able to see the start of my journalism career with View Newspaper Group (as a faithful reader of the “The Davison Index” and “The Flushing View,” no less).

Margaret Marvicsin might not be with us anymore, but memories of her will live on forever in our hearts.

Ben Gagnon is a reporter for View Newspaper Group. You can contact him at 810-452-2661 or bgagnon@mihomepaper.com.