This post is an adaptation of the Eulogy I wrote for my grandmother.
My grandmother was a tiny woman who could make the devil cower in the corner. She raised five children, five step-children, and helped to raise too many grandchildren to count.
Eulogies generally start out with, "She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother." We've heard it so many times it means next to nothing. While my grandmother was all of these things, she was so much more.
My Gram taught me to sew and helped me design my prom dress. She taught me how to iron shirts, cook, and clean house—typical grandmother stuff. She also taught me the value of a good soap opera and instilled in me a love of fiction. Some of my favorite books were hand-me-downs from her bookshelf.
By far, the greatest lesson my grandma taught me, was how to be a strong woman. No matter what she was going through, she held her head high and took care of everyone else first. I’m sure she had moments when she fell apart, but she always made sure we were okay. Gram did this up until her death. I know it sounds weird, but I'm convinced she waited for my mom to leave the room before she passed.
My Gram was fiercely independent. She lived in her own apartment and never shied away from calling it like she saw it. She could be challenging, but something about her touched people. She gave the nurses hell at the hospital, but the night nurse cried through her shift the night before my grandmother died. It takes an amazing woman to garner such an emotional reaction from a veteran nurse.
At the funeral, I sat scrunched between my family members. The service started with a video of photographs from 80 years of her life. I couldn't look at it without crying. I'd never know the beautiful young woman in the older photos. I don't remember much of the years when I was very small. I've forgotten the names of some of the people with her in the pictures. But I will never forget the sense of home I felt when she embraced me.
I have too many fond memories of my grandmother to list them all, but the smell of homemade beef soup simmering will always remind me of home. I'll think of her every time I sing along with a Patsy Cline song (off-key, because I inherited her signing voice.)
I'll miss Christmases with too much tinsel, quick conversations during commercial breaks of her soaps, hugs just when I need one, and watching her hold my children in her arms…
Three months have gone by and it hasn't gotten any easier, but I know she made sure I was taken care of before she left to be with the Lord. She gave me a lifetime of love and advice (solicited or otherwise) to carry me forward.