|Vivian King Gutzman|
December 18, 1922-November 1, 2013
This tiny, fierce, Southern Belle with a stubborn side clearly loved my Grandfather dearly, and was devastated to lose him. She had already survived many losses in her life, including two previous husbands and a son, her only child. After my Grandpa's death, Vivian returned home to Texas with the knowledge that, as he had requested, my mother had promised my Grandpa that she would take care of Vivian.
A few years ago, my mother brought her back to Wisconsin in order to fulfill her promise. Since that time, Vivian was a fixture in our family. She loved sharing in our family events, holidays, weddings, and the births of her Great Grandchildren. She worked hard to restore her speech and her memory when strokes threatened to take both away. She loved creating and crocheted herself a hat and scarf to match just about every outfit she owned. She styled her hair and applied her makeup meticulously, always wanting to look her best. She lived independently, strongly resisting any suggestions at transitioning to assisted living, even as her personal and medical needs increased.
Vivian loved our whole family, and was especially delighted with the babies, Delilah, my niece Harper, and Canon. She took every opportunity to tell us all that we were wonderful, to thank us for our place in her life, and to tell us that she loves us.
|Vivian with Canon|
|Vivian with Delilah|
|Vivian with Harper|
She often worried about being a bother or having people make a fuss over her. She'd made all of the arrangements for her passing in advance, and was adamant that she wanted no service, no visitation, no fuss at all over her passing. I was honored when my mother asked if I'd write up something resembling an obituary for her, but not a traditional obituary, as she hadn't wanted that. No 'preceded in death by', no 'survived by', just a little something to let those who knew her know that she was gone, and something that maybe, someday, an ancestor might find to get to know a little piece of who she was.
Here's the obituary as originally written:
Vivian King Gutzman peacefully passed from her earthly life on Friday, November 1, 2013. She was born in Houston Texas on December 18, 1922, though if you asked her, she’d insist that her birth certificate was wrong and she was actually born a year later. She lived her life to the fullest throughout all ninety of her years; a “career woman” born before her time. From owning her own dance studio in Texas to her national reputation as a makeup artist, Vivian both taught and embodied beauty and grace. Vivian loved birds, flowers, and snappy outfits. Though her heart was in Texas, she spent her final years in Wisconsin, celebrated as a beloved Grandmother and Great-Grandmother, enjoying the tiniest of meals accompanied by the largest glasses of wine.
Throughout her full life, Vivian loved and lost deeply, and found great joy in her family, her crafting, and her knack for finding beauty in every day. Vivian was fiercely independent until the very end, and will be remembered fondly by all who knew and loved her. Per her wishes, no visitation or service will be held, and she will be returned home to Texas to rest peacefully.
I had the opportunity to say Goodbye to Vivian before she passed. I thanked her for loving my family, for being a wonderful Grandma and Great Grandma, and for being a part of our lives. I told her I'd kiss my babies for her, and asked her to give my Grandpa a hug and tell him all about his Great-Grandbabies.
I don't know what happens when we die. I'm at peace with not knowing. Still, I'd like to think that we are, in some way, reunited with those we love that have passed before us, even if just by becoming part of the same earth. I'd like to think that she's with my Grandpa, snuggled up by his side and telling him stories of family, of fun, and of love.
Rest well Grandma Vivian. You will not be forgotten.
All photos by Bella Photography by Nicole Aarstad