Friday, March 27, 2009

A final farewell & 101 reasons to celebrate

Today was Grammy's funeral service up in Maine. My mom said that it was very well attended. I do wish I could have been there, but it was more important that Radar and I got to see her less than a month ago. I did write down a few words and my brother Javier read them at the service (that's the Science Pundit to all of you). I thought I'd share them here with a couple of pictures from one of my visits a couple of years ago.

To preface my words, I should let you know that Grammy was blind, Cynthia and Magee are my mom's cousins (Grammy's neices), Jacqui and Connie are her wonderful neighbors and here's a picture of my grandfather who died this same month 22 years ago.

My words on Grammy:

For the past 10 years I’ve gone up to visit Grammy three or four times a year and over that time we settled into a pretty regular routine. We would make a list of things to get done during my visit and cross them off as we finished each one. Clean out frig, check. Audio books, check. Cut kindling, check. One of my favorites was going through the card catalogs to pick out birthday cards, Christmas cards or friendship cards. In the evening, we would sit down in the living room and I would look through the catalog to find the cards I thought Grammy would like. Dog cards for Cynthia. Cat cards for Magee. A funny card for Jacqui. Religious cards for the shut-ins. She wouldn’t let me pick out any cards for my mom because she thought I would tell mom and ruin the surprise!

It would go something like this. “Here’s a cute one Grammy. There’s a pig taking a bubble bath in an old fashioned claw-foot tub; scrubbing his back with a brush. And on the inside it says, ‘This little piggy says you’re how old? Hogwash! Happy Birthday.’” And Grammy would say, “Oh that’s cute and it isn’t off color. Don’t you think Connie might like that?”

So I thought I’d take this last opportunity to pick out a few cards for you Grammy.

This one shows a little old lady, with her red wool winter coat and knitted beret, taking dozens of audio books to the library as a donation. The inside reads, “Even when you needed, you never forgot those who needed more. Thank you.”

And this one shows that same little old silver haired lady, now in her kitchen with orange papered walls, baking up strawberry, blueberry and rhubarb pies. The inside reads, “One of the things that made you so special was that you always remembered those small details that made us feel special – like having our favorite pie ready on every visit.”

The next one shows the little old lady seated in her green velor chair with a tearful smile on her face and an infant boy on her lap. The baby's new pudgy fingers are wrapped around her frail, wrinkled index finger. The inside says, “Holding a great-grandchild makes getting old worthwhile.” And someone has handwritten, “I'm so grateful that you waited just long enough to hold your newest; my son.”

The last one shows a handsome, elderly gentleman standing on a cloud. He's got a pretty big nose and pretty big ears. His pocket watch reads “22 years and counting.” He's holding out his arms to catch the same little old lady who is running toward him with strong legs and perfect vision. The inside reads, “It took you long enough! Welcome home!”

Enjoy your new home Grammy. I'll miss you.

On a final and much happier note... today is a perfect 101! Radar was born 101 days ago. Happy 101 day birthday my darling baby boy... You have made mommy's life so much richer and more full of love than I could have ever dreamed. I love you beyond words!

Lots of love,
Titi and Radar


Lori said...

You made me weep... Beautiful words from a beautiful person, Christena. What a wonderful tribute to Grammy. Reading what you wrote about Grammy makes me want to love her too.

Much love as always,

Lizzie said...

You made me weep too, lovely words about your lovely Grammy......

Jenna said...

Your Grammy sounds like an amazing woman. I wish we all eveyone could enjoy and appreciate everyday like she did. Thanks for sharing

Cousin Laurie said...

I agree with your sentiment. You got to see her happy and holding your son, and that was the most important thing.

One of my goals was to make the trip to Maine that my dad never made. We were supposed to go the summer he died, and I had to wait almost 20 years to make it for him. In my heart I sort of knew I wasn't ever going back. I tried, but work,and life got in the way.

You, your Mom and Javier made that a part of your life, and that is sooo much more important than a funeral. You need to be there for them when they are alive. Let them know you love them, and that's all that matters.

I loved your words, and I know she heard them too.