Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend my grandmother’s memorial service. After two weeks away from my husband and daughter and some existing hostility among (incoming) family members, I felt it was best that I return home and carry with me the sweetness of the previous weeks and not sully the memories with anger and hurt feelings.
My cousin Brandy has written a beautiful eulogy, one that I could have written myself. I have asked Brandy to read some thoughts that I had in addition to hers. It felt like the right thing to do since I wont be there in person.
Here’s what I have to say:
There’s not much I can add to the words spoken by Brandy this afternoon. She perfectly and succinctly stated my thoughts about our grandmother.
In the last two weeks, Brandy and I had a lot of time to reminisce -and commiserate- over our beloved grandmother. And we’re both in agreement: she wasn’t the warm and fuzzy grandmother of television lore. We say that with a chuckle and light hearts.
When I consider the woman I am today, I can easily thank my grandma for her influence in my life. Like many of you, I was given shelter and refuge in her home during troubling times. It was there and through her example that I learned to save money and the value of being debt free. Because of her, I learned to appreciate hard physical labor; a lesson carried with me to this day. And I think, I may have genetically inherited her green thumb as well, but it didn’t manifest itself until my thirties.
I can’t recall a time when she doted over me and told me how special I was just because I was her granddaughter. I can, however, recall times when she would praise me for my intelligence and my ability to solve problems. I don’t recall her teasing me or pointing out that I was chubby and awkward, but I do recall her telling me that I looked nice in a particular dress and she admired that I was tall and had beautiful skin.
She was the only woman to talk to me about the dreaded issue of sex as a teenager, and she spent many hours talking, laughing, and possibly arguing with me at her kitchen table over a plate of eggs, crispy bacon, and home fried potatoes (fried in bacon grease!).
She was there to hold my newly born daughter—her first great-grand daughter- at the hospital. And had she been in good health, she would have been, dressed in her ever so elegant style, at my wedding in 2005 to my wonderful husband, Niel.
Though I can’t recall her saying it to me directly, I’ve always known that she loved me. It was communicated by her actions and not by her words. Because she provided a refuge and stability for me during those critical and difficult teen years, I’ve always respected and admired this woman.
In her last days, It was my privledge and honor to give her the only gift I could give her. My time.
I sang to her. I talked to her. I stroked her head and hands. I laughed with my cousin and aunts in her presence, all so that she knew she wasn’t alone.
And in her last minute of life, she somehow managed to connect with my spirit and tell me it was time for her to return to her Heavenly Father. What a privlege for a grandaughter.
Indeed, she was a tough woman. She may have been aloof. She may not have been the mother and grandmother as dictated by conventional standards.
But she was exactly what I needed in my life.
I can see her influence in the woman I am today. I, too, am a strong, independent, confident, and often aloof woman that takes care of her own.
And for that, I thank her.