It is with a sense of missing, but not sorrow that we write to tell you that our Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother, Wanda Eloise Brooks, passed away the morning of May 2nd. The middle daughter of a hearty Danish farmer and an educated Irish woman, Wanda was all the fiery and witty spirit you would expect. Sister to seven siblings, all of whom she outlived at 97 years old, save her younger sister Rosie. She reminisced often of her family and life growing up on the farm, especially in her final months, so we know she was ready and looking forward to seeing them all once again. Mother to seven kids, which led to her grandmothering a dozen and being a Great Grandmother to a handful more, Wanda was the cornerstone of a large, close-knit family. We remember fondly the silly songs she used to sing while fixing up something yummy in the kitchen. We remember her rascally sense of humor. We remember lazy summer days under the maple in her back yard. We remember cookies and band-aids as needed. We remember a safe haven she created where we could all show up as ourselves. We remember a listener, a laugher, and a loving heart. Though she may be gone, we could hardly have asked for more than 97 years, she must have liked us quite a bit to stick with living that long. Her absence may be felt in big ways and in small things, but she did us the favor of leaving plenty of trace of her still here on Earth. In the the green apples that ripe in summer from the tree she planted as a new home-owner. In the recipes she taught us to prepare for the holidays and the everydays. In the color of our eyes and the strands of our hair. In the respect and understanding we show others. Without Wanda, we would not be us, and we are grateful to be the mark she decided to leave behind in this world. We thank you all for being a part of a long and well-lived life, and we wish you all 97 years of your own full of health and happiness, and more if you’re up to it. And so, to the best of my abilities, I would like to leave you with a parting message I think my grandma would approve of. That is, don’t take life too seriously. When in doubt, be kind. Enjoy the flowers, the birds, a child’s laugh. And never dismiss the comforting properties of a warm batch of cookies and a hot cup of tea.