I found this recently, the eulogy I wrote for my grandmother’s funeral. I miss her, especially as her birthday rolls around. So for posterity, here is how I remembered her…
Losing my grandma is losing a little bit of childhood.
At the playground, who else would have known that wax paper on a hot metal slide makes the slide go faster? Lauren and I passed many summer days at your house, Grandma. We loved those walks to the playground.
Who else would quench my thirst with cream soda over ice, served in a big bright blue aluminum tumbler? I remember sitting on your small porch drinking it. And picking flowers from your colorful garden, so many snapdragons.
Who else will give me cute money? (Anyone?)
Losing my grandma is losing an incredible woman.
Who else would have loved my grandfather so well? You smoothed his rough edges and set his heart aflame. You weathered so much together, and remained true in your love to him through his last long days in the hospital. Please bring him our love now. (Give him a kiss for me.)
Who else could keep up with my Aunt Noreen and Uncle Bob at 500 bid? You were sharp for so long, and always up for adventure. You shared my aunt and uncle’s love of the lake, happy to sit at the bonfire but also game for a golf cart ride to the docks or a pontoon cruise up into your last years. Are there corn roasts in heaven?
Who else could have held my mother through all the trials and triumphs of her long life? You have been a constant source of love and strength for her. And I know you will remain with her for the rest of her days.
Who else could change with the times, understanding and digesting all the complication of the people around her? Who could watch Andy Williams on Youtube with me or observe me on a Skype call, and help me understand how truly miraculous our new technologies are? You are Thoroughly Modern Tillie.
Who else would have inspired me to be a mom? I wasn’t sure I wanted a child until the night you, mom and I sat on my couch in front of the fireplace talking until late in the evening. That night I felt the power of our friendship, and the importance of the generations.
Losing my grandma is losing an anchor.
Who else could hold together our constellation of families? You are the sun around which our holidays revolve. I’ll always remember you quietly holding court on Sharon and Robin’s couch at Christmas, an extra mild mimosa on the table next to you.
Gathering around you in your final days, I felt such love and kinship with my aunt and uncle and cousins. Aside from the love, we really like each other. We are a small but powerful family, and we will remain so.
Who else could have represented your generation so well? You were one of the last, an adopted mother to cousins and family friends. So gracious and unassuming in your role as matriarch.
Who else will drive the red sports car? You are my son’s beloved Gwandma Tillie, and you will remain part of our story time, as he assigns you vehicles to drive in his story books. He always includes you, and you will live on in his memory.
You are a love in all of us.
A gentle kindness and sweetness that informs who we are as your family.
I hope to carry some of your humility and grace with me.
I know you are a part of me and of every one of us who loves you.
Thank you, Grandma. I miss you.