We said goodbye to my Gran this weekend. It was lovely and sad and heartfelt and full of family. I had the honor to share my thoughts at the service. I thought I would share with you 🙂
Earlier this year my Gran, my mom and I all qualified for AARP.
It was a magic moment.
I grew up with my Gran.
And my Gran grew up with me.
It was lovely.
I got to know my Gran in a way few people have the luxury to know their Grandparents.
I had a gift. Perhaps the most precious gift- the gift of time.
I lived 50 years, five months and 28 days with my Grandmother.
Very few people get 50 years, five months and 28 days of unconditional love. I stand in front of you having unconditional love withdrawals. If anyone would like to pat my head, hold my hand, and tell me how beautiful I was a baby, I would really appreciate it. Seriously, there are applications in the back.
How amazingly lucky am I to have had my entire life with my Gran.
She is a part of who I am. I would refer to my Grandma at work. Something would come up around a Veterans organization or a nonprofit and I would say, “Well I was talking to my Grandma about this…….”
And everyone younger than me in the room would give me a look……… “No you weren’t. You were not talking to your Grandma about this because you are old and old people do not have Grandmas.”
But I did.
I had my Grandma for 50 years, five months and 28 days.
When people heard of her passing, the stories shared were amazing….a contagious laugh, a mischievous spirit, a tad irreverent and joyful.
So very joyful.
My Gran chose joy.
My Gran. At 25 she became a widow with two small children. It was 1956- a time when women could not open a bank account.
Women could not buy a house. They could not establish a line of credit. And she was grieving a terrible, terrible loss.
She was 25.
I think when life hands you something so hard when you are so young you can either retreat or you can declare to the universe that this will not destroy you.
I do believe my Gran made this declaration with a resounding yawp; determined to make the best of life when life presented her with the very worst.
And so she did.
My Gran chose joy.
Perhaps chose is the wrong word.
She owned it.
My Gran was big when you should be small.
Naughty when you should be nice.
Loud when you should be quiet.
And the more you asked her to hush, the more she was unable to restrain herself. To ask my Granny to be any less than who she was like asking the sun not to rise in the morning.
Beautiful, amazing, and unapologetically unconventional
She told me……ladies did not pass gas.
She told me……ladies fart.
And as we all tried to block out some really stinky holidays; holding a nose at Christmas Eve, wondering why that scented Christmas candle isn’t working as it should, we were laughing uncontrollably, wiping tears from our eyes and hoping
That you did not inherit Granny’s super tiny bladder.
My Gran was a full grown up with the bladder of a two year old.
I say this because incidentally, I have inherited said bladder. It is a constant struggle- do I laugh or do I pee my pants.
Usually it is the later.
“Tell me about your family.”
“Well, they fart and then laugh until they cry and then try not to wee their pants. It is a family trifecta.”
And. It is a beautiful trifecta.
My Grandmother worked her life as a solderer.
In full disclosure I had to google what it meant to be a solderer:
To solder: To solder is to apply an alloy; a copper or a silver, to a joint to unite two metal objects together- without heating those objects to the melting point.
Solder is also referred to as anything that joins or unites.
Of course my Grandmother was a solderer.
Because my Gran was solder.
She was able to join and unite so many people around incredibly random events.
She could- heat up a group to almost…almost….but not quite to the melting point and fusing them together.
No wonder Honeywell and Martin Marietta loved her so much.
My Gran became a Hospice volunteer when her sister Annie died. She loved this work. In my own memories, I remember her talking about this work more than any other career. Perhaps this was her way to let others know, they could still chose joy.
This joyful woman found my Grandpa Al and in June they celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. The day she passed we sat with Grandpa and gazed at their wedding photo;
She was 26. So much life already lived and so much life ahead.
“Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art”.
How lucky I was to be a part of that tapestry.
Yes. 91 years. And we can say she lived a full life and it was her time and blah, blah, blah. But I will fiercely miss my irreverent, loving, lippy, naughty, joyful, flatulent, tiny bladdered, perfectly imperfect grandmother.