My grandmother's funeral was today. I chose to look upon this day as a celebration of her life. I have had many days of tears as well as happy and fond memories. Part of this process, that helped the most, was writing a eulogy for my grandmother. I wrote 4 before I settled on this one that I delivered today. I decided to keep it simple. For some reason I was determined to find a good quote to start with and sure enough when I had stopped looking I fell upon one from Pema Chodron that I was able to base my eulogy on. Enjoy...
When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. Pema Chodron
To me my grandmother’s heart was huge, vast and limitless. I am the first born grandchild. The next to come would be almost 6 years later. I was born to a young mother who was so lucky to have her family help take care of and love me. My mother described me as “a change of life baby” born to a whole family. How lucky was I to spend my first couple of years of life with two mothers, until my mom met my Dad. Even then my Nan was always there for me. I had one mom who did the hard work of “mommy, especially when I was a teen”. The other to always have fun with, laugh with and joke with, one who never had to discipline, and that was my Nan. I believe that I touched my Nan’s heart as much as she touched mine. Without this wonderful example of warmth and gentleness from the time I was born I might have been a much different person.
A few things about my Nan that I will never forget and will always hold dear.
Her hug; anyone who hugged her knew that even towards the end, for such a small woman, she had a hug that felt like it would break you in half. It was so strong and so secure, it made you know exactly how she felt about you and took your breath away at the same time.
Her smile and laugh; She always loved a good joke and would joke and tease anyone she could, you always saw the twinkle in her eyes when she thought something was funny. Her laugh was infectious, and I am glad that I have her snort, although embarrassing sometimes – the two of us always found it funny.
Her blue eyes; every time I look in the mirror I see them, this is another family trait that is strong, me and my children have those same eyes.
Her voice; I used to think it was from years of smoking (even when she said she quit she snuck them) but my son Reilly has the same rasp in his voice. It is very distinct and endearing.
Some things that my Nan taught me that I still value today. She taught me to admire and never touch other peoples things. I apparently broke a flowered ornament as a child and she never let me forget it, Holly almost broke the match the other day. She taught me to always keep a freezer full of baked goods, you never know when someone might come to call. I still do this and use many of her recipes. Speaking of recipes, she taught me the value of a good family recipe. Never share it and if you do, don’t give it all up. The secret family recipes were so secret that even I had to find the missing ingredient on more than one occasion. Many a phone call to her and she would say “that’s not my recipe dear, or you must have done something wrong dear.” She taught me to keep things, random things around, just in case you might need it one day, a ball of yarn, random bits of fabric, buttons, you name it. I am getting more selective with this one, but it is not always easy – you just never know. Nan and my grandfather used to always tell me the most important thing to have in a relationship was trust and friendship. I always kept that in mind and looked for that in a partner. When Nan met my now husband Bill, they immediately started joking and she adored him from the get go. He made fun of her brownies, insisting they were store bought – anyone else would have taken it as an insult but it became an inside joke between the two of them. She made fun of him being a Newfie, but we both knew that she loved that! She always accepted me for who I was, no matter if she agreed or not. Don’t get me wrong she would give me a look or make a comment but she still always loved me no matter what choices I made – I only hope I can be as accepting with my own children and even grand children as she was with me.
Nan thank you for having a bottomless heart when it came to me, my husband and my children. It has truly been an honour and a pleasure to be your grand-daughter. I am so happy that I was able to be with you and help you when you needed it these last couple of years. I am so blessed that you were able to be a part of all of my big moments, university graduation, my marriage and to see me as a mother to Liam, Reilly and Holly. When my children are older and when they ask, I look forward to telling them so many wonderful and funny stories about their grand-nan and how much you loved me.
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.