My Eulogy to Grandma

Sitting on bed holding up end of small bow tie quilt
Here I am back in February 1993 with the quilt I made.

This afternoon I came across the memorial announcement for my grandmother’s death (which brought tears to my eyes) and the eulogy I wrote for her memorial (which I share with you, for I still believe that God calls us to carry on).

My Eulogy to Grandma

February 1993

I brought this quilt here today because, for me, it symbolizes what I believe God calls us to do when an ancestor, when someone we love, dies. I made this quilt the past two weeks out of scraps from a quilt Grandma and my mother made eight years ago, as they mourned my grandfather’s death. Making this quilt helped me to mourn the loss of a wonderful, loving and generous woman, to have hope for the future, and to carry on Grandma’s work.

As I sat in bed with the flu these past couple of weeks, thinking I’d be too ill to join you in mourning Grandma’s death, I was struck by her endless creativity, by the gifts she bestowed on us, and the traditions she passed down.

Looking at the quilt and afghan Grandma had made filled me with respect for her creative talents and hope for our future. Hope, for in marrying Grandpa and loving him devotedly, and in giving birth to and raising her daughter and son, she laid the groundwork for future generations. We – her children, grandchildren, and those who dearly loved her – have been blessed as the recipients of her many gifts.

Margaret Mary Hebner taught us all a great deal. I remember her teaching me how to sew, knit, crochet, needlepoint and embroider, bake bread, make ice cream and granola from scratch. She taught us how to love devotedly and generously, as well.

I will remember her always as the perfect grandmother – generous, creative, and loving. We were truly blessed to have been created and loved by Mary Hebner. She nourished us well with her many gifts.

Martin Short Quote on Death

Martin Short’s wife Nancy died of cancer after almost 30 years of marriage. I love what he said about death in his AARP interview.

I believe that when people die, they zoom into the people that love them. This idea that it just ends, and don’t speak of them — that’s wrong. That’s based on denial that we’re all going to die. So to me, she’s still here. At the same time, her death emboldened me to take risks. With real tragedy, you become a little more daring. It’s the yin to the yang: the positive part of life’s dark side.

Martin Short as told to David Hochman (2019, January 31). Martin Short Says He’s Wiser With Age. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/celebrities/info-2019/martin-short-interview.html

Grief — Moving Forward

An Irish Toast: May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead.
In Loving Memory of My Father. No Doubt He Made it through the Pearly Gates.

Wednesday my mother gave me artwork and books to remove from her room, the room she formerly shared with my father.

My sister and I grew up with this prayer prominently displayed. I will give the original to my sister to remember our father.

The Arabian horses graced the wall above my father’s desk. I plan to reframe and put them a place of honor in my home.

Green-blue rubbing of three Arabian horses
This rubbing of Arabian horses hung above my Dad’s desk

Yesterday my mother had me take my father’s clothes home with me. She is moving forward.

Dry-eyed, I hugged my mother, articulating what she can no longer say due to aphasia from her stroke. “I miss him, too, Mom. He loved us all so well. We loved him. We miss him.”

More and more lately I’ve cried, both alone and over the phone with my sister.

We are grieving.

 

 

Jazz and Grief

Listening to jazz as I grieve

Yesterday I took my mom out for a late lunch at a local diner. She enjoyed the outing. She likes going out of her memory care community with me.

Before I visited my mom, I saw my psychologist who suggested I do less and allow myself to grieve. I’ve been too defended, using busyness to keep my feelings at bay.

Today I listen to straight ahead jazz in memory of my father. He passed on his passion for jazz to me. Listening, I allow myself to cry. I miss sharing this love of jazz music with my dad. He lives on in so many ways. He lives on in my love for jazz, true American classical music.

Tomorrow we will remember my dad in a small get-together of close family. We will listen to jazz, as we share photos and memories of him.

My parents had requested that we keep their memorials small, inviting only close family members. We are honoring that request. Fits our emotional needs, too. We can only handle so much right now.