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June 26, 2009

Christine Beyerstein, RIP

I'm very sorry to report that my grandmother, Christine Beyerstein, passed away yesterday. It's some consolation that she was 95 years old and in excellent health until about a week before her death.

Nana was a very strong woman. Her zest for life was undiminished by adversity.

To say she was a devoted mother and grandmother would be an understatement. She lavished love on her family and friends. My mom likes to say that Nana was the perfect mother-in-law--loving, supportive, and genuinely accepting.

She loved parties and she never showed up without a home-baked treat. I started baking with Nana when I was five. Every time I roll out a pie crust, I'm grateful to have had a 25-year apprenticeship with the master.

I'm always going to remember why Nana was never confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The pastor asked the class to forswear dancing. Christine loved to dance and she wasn't about to give it up to please anyone. In their church, the dance ban was a formality even in those days, but Nana absolutely refused to make a promise she wasn't going to keep. "I'm going to keep dancing, and so are all of you," she told her classmates. So, she failed confirmation--a minor scandal for the daughter of a single mother in a small Alberta town during the Great Depression.

Her quiet but firm refusal happened 80 years ago, but it symbolizes the self-possession and independence of mind that Nana displayed throughout her life.

Christine Beyerstein was a remarkable woman. We're going to miss her tremendously, but we're grateful to have been part of her exemplary life.


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Lindsay Beyerstein -

My condolences.

My deepest sympathies - the world is poorer for her loss.

A long, good life like that is worthy of celebration.

my sincere condolences. our nanas truly and surely define the people we become.

that, and passing on the secret delights of baking.

my best wishes go out to you and your family at this time.

My condolences Lindsay. If I might be so bold, might I ask which small Alberta town? She might be contemporary with a few of my own relatives in that region.

It was Camrose, Alberta, I think.

I honor her memory, thank you for sharing with us.

It has been an honor to be part of Christine's extended family over the last 40 years. As the wife of a member of Parliament, Christine knew many of the important people of her generation, but she always kept the small-town, prairie honesty and directness of her youth. As a teacher, I loved her stories about teaching in a 1 room school. When we met, she always took my hand in hers and asked how I was and how was my family, but when asked the same question in return, she was always,"just fine." Christine lived the best of lives - not without pain and loss, but with courage and kindness, intelligence and so much love. Her life is an inspiration for me and for us. Your loss is ours too. Love, Linda and Hal and family

I'm sorry to hear this. How are you taking this?

Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman and role model. I'm glad she lived a long and healthy dance-filled life.

What a beautiful tribute Lindsay. When you write about your family it become abundantly clear where your wisdom comes from. Nana you did good.

What an inspiration for you and your entire family. My condolences to you and all who knew her. May the dancing go on!

That's a wonderful tribute, Lindsay. Thanks for sharing her with us. As a Minnesota Lutheran--evidently a little less strict than Alberta but I can relate--I love the dancing. And being healthy till one's mid-90s isn't bad either!

I'm very sorry for your loss. As someone else said, it sounds as if she had a wonderful life, and enriched the lives of many others. Your writing of her is eloquent, as usual. Thank you.

Last week I was discussing with my boss who had just returned from his mother's memorial service how a death breaks a link in a great many chains binding all kinds of people together. You and yours are very lucky that that particular link weathered the odds for 95 years. Keep dancing.

That was a wonderful tribute, Lindsay. I am very sorry for your loss.


SOrry for your loss. The irony that she was too honest to be confirmed is a striking tribute to a principled person.

My condolences; nice to see you celebrate her life!

Very sorry to read of your loss. Your grandmother emerged wonderfully from your posts about her.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

What a great lady! We'll dance a dance just for her.

Condolences. Sounds and looks like she was quite a lady!

Sorry that you're Nana's gone Lindsay, she was a cool lady.

I am so sorry to hear of your loss; she sounds like a very impressive person.

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