RIP Grandma La Vigne

RIP Grandma La Vigne

Justin’s grandma, Barbara La Vigne, passed away this past week and I’d love to pay my respects to her by writing a little bit about our time on Earth with her!

Justin with his Grandma and Grandpa after he was born in 1976!

As soon as I met Grandma La Vigne and learned that she loved chocolate as much as I did, I knew that I would love her like my own grandparents.

But in all seriousness, I’ve now known Justin for 17 years (gasp!), so this means his family is essentially my family. Justin’s grandpa died in 1983, meaning his grandma lived for SO many more years without her spouse. I can’t even imagine that. But she created a life of her own and made family her priority.

She lived in the San Francisco area—far from her 3 children and 6 grandchildren—but always made it a point to get everyone together as often as she could.

This started as early as 1989, when she flew Justin out to California at age 13 for a solo trip.

Justin and his aunt during his solo California trip in 1989.

Back in 2007, she invited all her granddaughters out to Walnut Creek (where she lived) for a family gathering. I had just married into the family, but she included me for the trip!

Girls’ Trip in 2007!

Starting around 2008, she would meet Justin and his siblings each year in Chicago for Mother’s Day. It was a sweet tradition that went on until 2011 or so.

Mother’s Day 2008
Mother’s Day 2009
Mother’s Day 2010
Mother’s Day 2011

I even visited her on my own in 2008 when I was traveling for business in San Francisco. It was so fun to have one-on-one time with her!

Once she moved to a nursing home in Virginia Beach in 2013, Justin & I started conveniently visiting her there during our nomadic travels. I think one of my favorite things about Justin’s grandma was that she was a great listener. She would always ask Justin, “where are you?” Valid question, given our life. But she would listen to our stories, ask questions and never hold any judgement.

2013 Backpacker Gear and Go Tour Road Trip (via Van #1)
2017 New Zealand Speaking Tour (via Van #3)

Bringing Justin’s family together time and time again was an amazing feat with everyone all over the place.

La Vigne Family Reunion 2012
La Vigne Family Reunion 2015

Even to the day she passed at 95, Grandma La Vigne was a firecracker.

Our last visit with her May 5, 2019

There’s no doubt that grandparents are awesome and now that Justin has none left, and I only have my Nana, we are reminded that time spent with family is a gift that should never be taken for granted.

We will miss you, and always think of you, Grandma La Vigne.

6 responses to “RIP Grandma La Vigne”

  1. Rachel says:

    I can add that she took me under her wing as another grandchild the moment she met me (ie no judging a gay granddaughter). She’s was witty, inquisitive, and had the sharpest memory. I’ll miss GiGi. This post is a beautiful tribute to her.

  2. Jamie La Vigne says:

    Beautifully written Patrice. She was one of a kind and had the best sense of humor. I know we will all miss her. I’ll cherish all the wonderful the memories.

  3. Julie says:

    A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. I loved reading every word and seeing all of the old photos. She was one of a kind. It’s hard to believe she’s gone, but I feel so blessed she was here with us for so long.

  4. MOM/MIL says:

    Beautiful tribute to Barb. I know she has a smile on her face in heaven because of your blog post.

  5. misti says:

    Aww! My condolences, Justin and Patrice! It’s good y’all got to see her again recently.

    We just visited Chris’ grandmother who I thought was 96 but she says she’s 97—either way, she’s up there too!

  6. Ethan says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

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