I went to your funeral today. It was a lovely meeting that you would have enjoyed. As my dad said, you would have been embarrassed by all the nice things that were said about you. I was so happy to be able to participate by playing with my sisters. Many of your 72 great-grandchildren sang about families being together forever. Dad and Uncle Gordon sang, just as you had requested. As they sang, I remembered Grandpa’s beautiful tenor voice. I have few memories of him, but his voice is something I’ll never forget (along with his alarmingly loud sneezes).
Jack and Jane were happy to “celebrate” you. We particularly liked the slideshow of you they had going as we walked in. I thought of you as a young mother and all the fun visits we had when I was just starting out as a mother. I loved that you got to see Jack grow from week to week, and how you loved watching each new step. I’ll always remind Jack of how much fun he had rooting through your toy drawer, or how whenever you would get him a cracker, you always gave him “one for each hand”. When he was older, you were such a great audience when he’d play his violin for you.
When we came by to see you recently, I loved how Jane ran into your arms. We worried she was being too rough with you, but you smiled and welcomed her onto your lap with a kiss. She may not remember, but I’ll never forget when we visited you for the last time, to say our final goodbye. How she climbed right up on your bed to be close to you. I’ll remind her how happy you were to have her there and how she didn’t want to say goodbye.
For years you’ve wondered why you were still here. I’ve always known it was for us, not you. I’ve felt spoiled that you were here long enough to meet our little Alice. She won’t remember, but I will. I’ll tell her about your eyes lighting up when I asked if you wanted to hold her, and how she smiled the whole time. I’ll tell her about when I offered to take her back, and you wouldn’t let me. Seeing you with my baby reminded me of the first moment I connected with you as a mother, and how my love for you really blossomed. You weren’t only “Grandma” anymore. You’d become even more.
As a kid, I remember the fun New Year’s Eve “parties” we had with lots of treats and board games while we watched the ball drop on the television. I remember hours of playing air hockey in the basement, jumping rope with one end tied to the doorknob, bottles (bottles!) of soda, jumping on that indestructible orange couch, eating individually wrapped cheese slices, and the Almond Rocas you always had in your freezer. I very clearly remember that Grandpa loving to eat peanut butter on his toast for breakfast, yet it was only a few years ago that you told me it was only he who liked it, and you hadn’t bought peanut butter in the 22 years that he’s been gone. How did you not like peanut butter? As a teenager, I remember not remembering to spit out my gum before visiting your house. You have never liked gum, and finally, I get it.
I’ll remember a lot about you, but most of all, I’ll remember the years we had together relating as mothers. Thank you for sharing that time with me. Thank you for being excited for me as I started my family. And thank you for doing such a great job raising yours. Your influence as a loving mother has rippled through five generations already, and many more to come.
I love you,
P.S. Give Grandpa a hug for me.