This last Monday morning I received a call from my mom, and she informed me that my Grandmother, Vivian Marie (Larson) Barth, had passed away peacefully earlier in the morning. My grandma was 97 years old, and we got along real well. Without saying too much, I do know that I am grateful to have had such an extra ordinary grandmother, and also grateful to have lived within range of her and her influence. And although 97 is a long and full life (you really can’t ask for more), on the inside I still feel very sad, and kind of hollow about the region of the heart. But dying is a part of life. And for some reason I am reminded what Grandma Barth often said to us when she sensed we were distressed: “Everything will be okay.” This is true.
She was the reason we think of Swedes as stoic, and by no means was she void of emotion. She loved her family, her friends, her church, and her community. On occasion she would inject a sharp quip that would bring gravity to any lofty conversation. I once said to her, after reading in Engelhardt’s history of Fargo-Moorhead about J.A. Johnson, the first long-time Swedish mayor of Fargo, that he was mayor for 5 terms. Without missing a beat, Grandma Barth responded with, “Sounds like someone was in office for way too long.” This caused me to laugh out loud. While driving around with Grandma Barth, she once gave an indirect opinion of conspicuous consumption by simply saying, “You don’t need all that money to live and be happy.” Yes, we will miss you Grandma Barth, but your intellect and wisdom will continue echoing through the ages. You taught us well. A full obituary is linked here, and some reflections from Grandma Barth are linked to here and here.