Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Eulogy For Grandma

{I'm posting this here for my Uncle Jim who requested it.}

There are probably a lot of you who knew grandma better than I did. I’ve lived in Ann Arbor for over 30 years and don’t get up to Bay City that much. But one thing I can say . . . when I did go visit grandma, it was a trip down memory lane.

Until a couple years ago, she lived in the same house that I remembered coming to as a kid 50 years ago. Garden out back. A little shed off to the side. A place to wipe your shoes and a place to put them after you took them off. The picture of her four sons always hanging proudly and prominently in her living room.

She told much the same stories when you came around, stories about her youth, about her family and of course stories about her trips to the doctor.

And often there was music too. Grandpa would bring out his violin or grandma herself might play a tune on her organ. I brought my accordion to play sometimes and grandpa would accompany me on his saxophone.

Something else you could count on when you went to grandma’s was visiting with cousins, aunts and uncles who also happened by to pay their respects. Since grandma rarely got out, she lived for those visits from family members. And I think that’s what kept her going strong for those 99 plus years. So many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Those family visits were so precious to her.

When I called my youngest son Scott to let him know his great grandma had passed away, one thing Scott recalled is despite not seeing him or his brother Greg all that often, she always remembered their names.

During those visits of mine, grandma would always have something to eat. “Here, have something,” she would say. Might be cake, pie, or some ham in the refrigerator, once even a tomato out of her garden. “Take what you want,” she’d say.

And then, what it was time for me to go, she’d always say, “Come back and see grandma.” That was something else I could always count on. The invitation to come back and see her. And when I did return she was just as happy to see me as she was the time before. Like I said, it was a trip down memory lane.

My last visit with grandma was just a week ago when my dad and I visited her on Smith St. And I have a little story about that that I want to share. I tried to remember the details but my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. You know, I think grandma sometimes used to add some drama or embellish some small detail herself to her own stories. So if someone’s recollection is ever different from mine on some story I tell, just remember, I take after grandma.

So my mother said a couple weeks ago that I should visit grandma. She hadn’t been doing well lately. And it had been over a year since I had seen her last. But one thing about grandma. She doesn’t mince words. And I remember the last time I visited she mentioned how I had put on a little weight.

I was worried that she would mention it again. My mother said not to worry. Grandma’s memory was fading. In fact, she might not recognize me at all.

So my dad and I went over and she tried to guess who I was. She said my voice was familiar but she couldn’t think of my name. My dad said, “It’s Dave. Your grandson.” She looked at me up and down, head to toe, for what seemed like a long time. “You’ve gotten big,” she said.

I turned to me dad and said, “See. I told you so.”

My dad said that what she meant was that I’m big, as in all grown up. But I’m thinking that I’ve been grown up for 40 years now. I think even at 99, grandma’s memory is better than that.

So that was mine and grandma’s last trip down memory lane together. And when I think of it, there was something missing. I gave her a couple hugs and we said good bye, but this time she didn’t say, “Come and see grandma again.”

Maybe she knew it would be our last time together. Maybe she knew her time here was running out. But even though she’s gone, there’s lots of memories left over, not just for me, but for all of you as well I’m sure. So grandma, we may not be able to come back and see you in person, at least in our lifetime, but those memories we have of being with you will live forever in our hearts.


Blogger Carine said...

I'm sure after hearing this Dave, not only your grandma was shining down a smile but your family was dabbing a lot of "wetness" from their eyes.
(( ))

5:52 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

That is a touching tribute. What good memories you have to hold you for a long time, Dave. :')

8:56 PM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

I like that you talked to your relatives and friends just like you talk in person. You spoke about your grandma with a love and you were truthful about not going to see her all the time. This is nice.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--I remember seeing grandma out in the congregation when I delivered grandpa's eulogy. It was a sad moment too but she was smiling then as well.

LYNILU--A lot of memories, for sure. I still remember my great-grandmother (my grandmother's mother, as well). I remember them discussing (in Polish) the new dances being performed on American Bandstand.

TECHNOBABE--Thanks, Technobabe. It was harder to see her the older I got, but she had plenty of other grandchildren and great-grandchildren who visited her often.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hello Dave ~~ Wonderful eulogy for your grandmother, who sounded like a wise and
welcoming lady. I am sure she would have been proud of your words and memories.
Thank you for sharing that with us.
Take care, my friend, Regards, Merle.

8:10 PM  

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