To some, Lyn Snow was just a person in our community — someone they bought a painting off or perhaps a friendly, high-strung woman with whom they had a very nice conversation. Many people knew her, and her watercolors hung in galleries across the U.S.
To my family and me, she was a maternal foundation of love and kindness, a person to hold our hands in a time of need or stress, a teacher.
To me, she was Grandma.
She was there for me through thick and thin and would never leave me behind. She was always there to say, “I understand what you’re going through, Joseph.” She gave me a shoulder on which to cry. Her greatest concern was the well-being of her grandchildren.
I think about all the great times I had with her. When I was little, my grandfather told me that my grandmother had passed away. Though he was referring to my father’s grandmother, the first person who came to mind was my Grandma.
My sister and I cried as he brought us to Owls Head, but then I saw my grandma standing in the hallway of the vacation house. My sister and I were immediately filled with joy.
In my childhood, she would take us to her house to catch bullfrogs in her pond during the day, ending in a sleepover with our cousins and a bedtime story in the cool summer evening. This would happen every summer up to and including this last one. She would gather all of the cousins, and we would go swimming, everywhere from Damariscotta bridge to Chickawaukie Lake.
After my mother had left us to live on her own, and I wasn’t living with my father, I told my Grandma that I wanted to commit suicide. She looked at me and told me, “Joe, don’t you ever do that. If you did that, it would kill me. Don’t even think about doing it.” She pulled out a box of tissues and took my hand.
She said, “Pinky promise me that you will never do it, and if you even think about it, promise you will tell me.” I pinky promised her that day, and that made our relationship that much stronger.
I lived with her for two months last December and January, which was a great experience. Every day after school she asked me, before we headed for the gym, “What did you learn at school today?”
I would respond with, “Nothing. Just another day of boring school.” She would always egg me on to think of something.
She had always worried about my Grandpa Jack shoveling the deep snow. When I was there to help last year, it put off a great deal of worry. The day I left, she had been crying, and I said, “Come here, Grandma,” and I gave her a long hug.
During the end of the summer my great-aunt Sally married my great-uncle Gregory. My aunt Sally asked my sister and me to be the greeters for her wedding reception. I gladly said yes.
As I was later sitting with my cousin Sam, at the reception, my grandmother asked me, “Do you know how to dance?”
I answered, “No.”
She taught me how to dance that night. That was one of my last memories of my being with her.
The last thing she said to my sister and me, while she was in Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, was, “You’re such a good boy Joseph. And Abby, you’re such good girl. Keep on being a good boy and a good girl. I love you.”
I hugged her and told her, “I love you too Grandma, and you’re going to get better. I promise.”
She passed away Dec. 18, 2013. She was a great grandmother.
Joseph Sampson, 14, of Rockland is a freshman at MidCoast Christian Academy in Thomaston. He wrote this OpEd with his father’s consent so people would know more about a woman who many knew only as a painter. Marilyn Ruth Snow, better known as Lyn Snow, died at age 73 of an untreatable, tick-borne illness.