Grams and Baby Gemma last summer
there's something i've been wanting to write about. but i just haven't felt like it until now. a strange mixture of sadness and peace has been surrounding my achy heart for the past couple of weeks. my grandma died. this is the first loss i've had as an adult and also as a mother. it just doesn't seem right that the matriarch of my Dad's side of the family is gone, even though she lived a long and fulfilled life. i just don't understand why the birds kept singing and the river kept flowing and world kept going round when my Grandma had just left my life forever. such sadness. but in that sadness is hope. i have a baby--a fresh new being--who has an entire life ahead of her. just like my grandma did when she was born. the circle of life, as it is.
i had the absolute honor of writing my grandma's obituary. it was the most important thing i've ever written! what a daunting task it is to sum up one's existence in a handful of paragraphs. Leona Marie deserves to have a book written about her, page after page devoted to her grand adventure here on earth. but alas, i had to shrink it down. and during the process, i was reminded of her very best traits. and i already knew them--everyone who knew her already knew them. but how i cherish and admire these traits now, and how i aspire to make them traits of my own. the most important of these traits is kindness. so simple, so easy, yet so easily forgotten. so i am reminding myself everyday to be kind, L. always be kind. just like Grandma.
my uncle and i were also assigned to create a photo collage for her memorial service, and i came across the most amazing picture of my grandparents as newlyweds that i had never seen before. i immediately ran to make a copy for each of my sisters and cousins. a picture like this--of the King and Queen before their six children, sixteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (i.e. before the chaos)--deserves to be proudly displayed and thoroughly enjoyed by all of their kin. even in the later stages of her Dimentia when Grandma didn't talk much, she would sit at family functions, with all the crazy happening around her and say, "i started all of this." yes you did, Grams!
but really though, isn't this picture beyond fabulous?!
my cousin Bryan and i gave a speech at Grandma's service, and in preparation, we sent an email out to all the cousins asking for their favorite Grandma memories. we had so much fun reading through them and laughing at the stories we had forgotten about. amongst the funny anecdotes was a quote our cousin Amy reminded us of. a quote Grams often said. an absolute pearl of wisdom that i think we will all live by, "don't ever let your life get too busy to enjoy the little things. always make time for your family and friends because they're the ones who will be there in the end."
isn't that the truth though? Grams always had her priorities right. she was the best. the best best best. we'll love and miss her forever.