Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.


My grandmother recently passed away. I wrote this farewell letter a few days before she passed. I read it at her service.

Dear Grandma Jeanne,

I’m walking on a path beneath a tree tunnel of yellow, orange, and red. It’s your favorite season and your story is nearing the end. Tears slide under my sunglasses and skip off my chin. You loved fall the most. Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.

I don’t get much time by myself these days, but this is my third walk today. I had to stop and sit on this bench by this golden tree under this blue sky and write . . .

Thank you for teaching me it’s okay to be silly. Thank you for showing me the beauty of books. Thank you for inspiring me to write. Thank you for your life-long example of compassion and joy for life.

I will always remember our trip to Victoria, BC. I will always treasure our bedtime stories. I will always cherish the memories we made each summer in Montana.

This fall I will drink hot tea. This fall I will write and write and write. This fall I will dance under falling leaves. This fall I will act as silly as can be with your two great-grandchildren.

This fall, and every fall for the rest of my days, I will celebrate you—your light, your love, your life.

Love always,

Amanda Jean


Being silly with Grandma Jeanne and Aunt Georgie.
Being silly with Grandma Jeanne and Aunt Georgie.
One of my favorite books that Grandma Jeanne and I read together.
One of my favorite books that Grandma Jeanne and I read together.

The service truly was a celebration of her life. When it was over, we went outside and released balloons into the big blue Montana sky. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.


One of my grandma’s life-long goals was to be a published writer. She accomplished this goal. Grandma Jeanne wrote two books, and was working on her third when she passed. I developed my love for writing because of her passion for the written word. I will keep my promise to drink hot tea and write, write, write.


November is the perfect month for me to start blogging and journaling again. November is Picture Book Month and Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). This will be my first year participating in PiBoIdMo. I look forward to challenging myself to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 3o days.

I am going to let go and have fun with my writing. I will think of Grandma Jeanne—her silliness, her compassion, her joy. I already have many ideas inspired by her brewing inside of me. Sometimes I think we create the most beautiful word strings when we experience intense emotions such as grief. I will transform my grief into something special. I will celebrate her and honor her each and every time I write.



11 thoughts on “Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.

  1. This is beautiful! Remembering what they taught us is one of the best ways to keep the deceased alive in our hearts.
    I had a Grandma Jeanne, too, although I called her Bubbe (that’s Yiddish for Grandma). She was my favorite grandparent, and the first one for me to loose. 😦 She died when I was ten.
    Thank you, by the way, for following my blog. You’re the second fellow children’s author to follow it, and I’m really glad you found it. How did you find it?
    Anyway, good luck with PiBoIdMo, and I look forward to seeing more posts of yours. Take care.

    1. Thank you for sharing. Your kind words mean so much to me. I was happy to find your blog through Tara’s PiBoIdMo blog comments. I look forward to reading your posts as well 🙂 Best wishes!

  2. This is so beautiful. Obviously you had a special relationship. I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m glad you will find solace in your writing. I’ll see you around the PiBo’s!

  3. A. J.: Such sweet memories you continue to hold in your heart about Grandma Jeanne. How wonderful that she instilled so many important values in you. Continue to celebrate and honor her through your writing, while sipping on a mug of hot tea. PiBoIdMo is sure to stir up some special memories about Gma Jeanne. Jot down the ideas and then continue to revise until you have a published story. ~Suzy Leopold

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