Originally published September 17th, 2015
Over the weekend we buried my grandmother. The weekend before that I watched two friends get married. These events have me thinking a lot about the passage of time and the wealth/worth of a life. All kinds of deep thoughts have been swirling through my mind with advent of my ever-pressing job search, the death of my grandmother, and my soon-coming 25th birthday.
I took a good hard look at my family and all the traits I’ve inherited from them. As COLORFUL and sometimes nerve-wracking as they can be, I’m appreciative of all they passed on and rubbed off. We’re more alike than I ever imagined. Sometimes I’m to accepting, too forgiving like my mother. I can be loud and aggressive like my aunts, but bad at expressing feelings like my uncles. I’m particular and outspoken like my father, and best of all, weird and intelligent like my cousins. It shouldn’t take a funeral to see that the indelible marks on your character are the fingerprints of your family.
The day of the funeral was a mess of hurried and incomplete thoughts. Tearful words of remembrance, and stories of the lives my grandmother touched. Earlier in the week I had been asked to speak, but when the day came that opportunity was forfeited. Teary-eyed church members and family friends filled the pews, and in our combined sentiment went over the time allotted in the program. In truth, everything I’d wanted to say was more significant to myself anyways, so I wasn’t too upset at not having the opportunity to share. But, I remembered I have a blog. So here goes.
“In thinking about my grandmother’s passing, I began to wonder about death. How much of a person remains on Earth? Can pieces of them be found in belongings? Clothing and jewelry to be collected. Would I be foolish in hoping that I could keep pieces of her; items of hers as if that would be the same? Hoard her heart to keep her with me. What I can keep, what I’ll never lose in this life or the next, are the lessons I learned from her and the love I always felt from her. Whenever I would tell her about my assignments in school, a new job, or my career goals, she would always remark the same way. She would smile, shrug her shoulders, and say “As long as you do your best, sweetheart.”
I have to wonder, am doing my BEST? Am I shooting for more? Acquiring more responsibility? Taking more calculated risks? Facing my fears? Finally, in sorting through some of her belongings and helping to choose her last outfit, I remembered just how fancy a woman she was. From her big dramatic church hats, to her timeless jewelry, to her wardrobe that took up three closets, she was the classiest person I’ve ever known. As I continue to live I want to carry with me those three things: to continue to feel her love, to do my best, and be as fancy as possible.
Tomorrow, September 18th, would have been her 86th birthday. Happy Birthday, Grams! Love you.