Giving the eulogy at my grandma’s funeral last week was easily one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was also one of the most rewarding.
It’s not easy to say goodbye – or, as I wholeheartedly believe, “see you later.”
But it is easy to remember, and I am grateful to have been given the chance to share those memories. So I’m going to take that opportunity again, here.
When my grandma was in the hospital a few weeks ago, she needed someone to sit and watch her to make sure she didn’t fall. Since the hospital was short-staffed, and my grandma needed a sitter, it was up to the family to contribute the time and energy involved. I took a Tuesday night shift.
My grandma wasn’t sleeping much, because she was agitated and confused. There was one point, though, when she fell asleep and then started talking. She didn’t say much – just “enthusiasm,” and then she proceeded to spell it. E-N-T-H-U-S-I-A-S-M.
That night, I thought it was pretty funny – at least funny enough to laugh and wake her up again. She was probably recalling a memory test she had been given earlier that day.
Now, a week after she passed away, I can’t help but think what a wonderful word she chose.
If I could have picked any adjective to describe my grandma, enthusiastic would have been one of my top five choices. Any time I had something to tell her – even if it was just what I ate for lunch that day – her eyes lit up like I was telling her the most interesting thing she had ever heard.
I know a lot of grandmas are like that, but I think what made mine particularly special is that she would have done that for anyone. Just the fact that someone was taking the time to share information with her made her exceptionally happy. Unless she didn’t like you – but there weren’t many of those.
My grandma showed enthusiasm in her love for her family, her friends and her parish. There was nothing she wouldn’t do if she was asked by someone she loved. I don’t know anyone else who acted so selflessly toward others, and I am going to miss seeing it in action.
I’m also going to miss her scent – because every grandma has one – and the way she was always right, even when she wasn’t. I definitely don’t see any of that last characteristic in myself.
I’m going to miss her voice, telling me how proud she is of what I’ve done. I’ll miss her presence at family gatherings, especially on holidays; concerts, birthdays and most of all, graduation this May.
I will miss countless things about her. But at the same time, I am happy for her. Happy that she is finally at peace again, and no longer suffering. And happy that she has finally gone to the place the rest of us are still dreaming of.
I have found that it is best not to dwell on what I’m missing, but what she’s gaining. After all, that’s what she would have wanted. And even though she’s not here to say it, I know she’s still proud of all that I have accomplished so far, as well as what’s to come.
This one’s for you, grandma.