Friday, January 26, 2007

Everyone Needs A Little Sadness

So, I was talking to Court the other day about the talk I gave at my Grandma's funeral. I think it's a really good talk. Since I don't think I'll ever be able to read it again, I'm going to write it. So many of you never got to meet my Grandma because of her illness, but she was so wonderful! Here's my talk. If you don't want to read it, I don't mind.

On Tuesday in the hospital the nurse told us to gather together because it wouldn't be long. Gather together. That has stuck in my mind ever since. Gathering together as family and friends was Grandma's love. We would gather for every birthday. We would gather for every holiday. We would just be together whenever we could and Grandma was the happiest then. And here we are today, gathered together to honor her life and what she gave to each of us.

I asked my cousins if they had any special memories of our Grandma. Most of the answers were similar.

Danny was amazed at how totally selfless she was. She wanted to take care of you and she would whether you liked it or not. She reveled in the role of a mother and grandmother. She would mother you until you just thought you might scream, but you always came back for more. Adam talked about how Grandma's real word for "I love you" sounded more like "be careful". She would tell you that whenever you were going somewhere. And we would always say, "I will Grandma, don't worry." But she did worry because she loves us and that's her job. This is all because she was the most overprotective grandma in the world. She was constantly reminding us to look both ways before we crossed the street, and for heaven's sake, don't walk in the street, wear your coat, and countless other caustions that we are so used to hearing, got a little tired of, and will probably miss now.

We all talked about how much she just loved to sit and talk to you whether in person or on the phone. The hours would fly by as she asked you about everything in your life and then related that to hers. We all loved the way she told us stories about living near the mine in Price when she was growing up. Adam remembers how she would have to take baths in a big galvanized tub in the kitchen. Even just on Monday, she told me about how her father would take her to a sulfer pond by the mine and make her drink a cup of sulfer water every spring to cure what ailed her. When I asked her how it tasted, she said, "Well, pretty much how it smells." Her sense of humor was so great. She would say something with this somewhat monotone voice and then look at you with that wonderful smile and you knew she was teasing you.

Most of my memories of Grandma are outside. I, like my cousins and countless other children, had the opportunity to spend most of the summer at my Grandparent's house. When we were little, Grandpa would go off to work with his tan overalls on and his black lunch pail. As soon as we had had breakfast, we would all head outside. Grandma LOVED the outdoors. She loved the flowers and the birds. She loved to work in her yard. I remember the white daisies that grew on the side of the garage, the beautiful roses that bloomed all summer, the lilies of the valley that we would endlessly pick and she would endlessly tell us to leave outside and her garden with the tomatoes, peas, broccoli, crook neck squash and zucchini all of it surrounded by zinnias to keep the bugs out. We have probably spent at least half our lives in Grandma's backyard.

James wrote a poem for Grandma and Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary that I think just sums it all up. It says,

As I slowly take the path into the backyard
Memories of my childhood flood into me.
Summers spent playing basketball, riding bikes, wandering.
of family gatherings,
Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving,
Spent with the ones I love.
Memories of times some bad, most good.

A smell, familiar, yet unknown fills the air.
I try to place it, amongst the other hundreds I remember.
Smelling of no flower, herb or food
no cake, nor any of the other hundred recipes that
Grandma just knows.
Suddenly, I remember the smell.
The sweet, warming smell
of home.

To our Grandma, our friend, our listening ear, our cheerleader, our teacher, our confidant, our one who kept us sane, we honor you today. We are your legacy and we hope to continue to make you proud. In the end, the influence you had on our lives goes beyond the words and emotions that we can express. Most of us came into this world surrounded by your love, and you left this world surrounded by ours.

So, there it is. I had the amazing opportunity of having my Grandma be one of my best friends. In the family prayer, Brent said that now she's waiting on the otherside to welcome us home. I know that I will see her again and that's the only way I can do this. I am so thankful for that knowledge.

This is how you would always see my Grandma. With a kid on her lap. This is her great-granddaughter Cami. It's a couple of years old.


Jess said...

Ashley- what a beautiful tribute that was to your Grandma. It was so sweet and tender. I loved how you opened it with the "gathering together" part. Very clever!

I didn't know that you had that opportunity to speak. I should have asked when I saw you. Sorry!

Thanks for sharing. It was a wonderful post!

Love you!

Mom said...

Your talk was so wonderful. Grandma would have been proud of you (as I am sure she was) just as she was always so proud of you in whatever you did - be it plays, all of your many singing venues, or just being you. She loved you lots. I am grateful that you had the opportunity to have two such special grandmothers - and that you realize how special they are.
Thank you for being able to speak from your heart.
I love you!

Julie said...

That was a wonderful talk Ashley, very nice.