Monday, January 21, 2013

Going Home

My grandmother died last week, peacefully, mercifully.  Her funeral was yesterday.  She chose the scripture and songs, one of which was Dvorak's "Going Home," a sweet, simple song.

There are two things I have grudgingly come to appreciate about funerals:  the reunion-like quality of all the people who gather, and the way death cuts through my trappings and gives me a chance to reflect.

Ben made a potholder for his granny (my mother), Grandma's eldest.
 
He thought Granny would be sad because her mother died.  He was right. 

I'm going to be reflecting on Grandma's legacy for a while.  But these are my initial thoughts:
1.  She chose to love her family above all else, even when we changed in ways she could not approve of.  Other people in her generation judged their families unrelentingly.  My grandma chose to let that go.

2.  from the tribute I gave at the funeral: 
"Grandma always was as neat as a pin with firm ideas about cleanliness and tidiness.  Her home was always so soothing to me because it was clean and neat.  Everything always seemed right in Grandma’s world.  I am not so naïve as to think Grandma had a perfect life, but I loved how she created order and serenity around herself.  This is a skill that inspires me."
3.  from the unabridged tribute which I did not read at the funeral:
"Grandma clung to her homemaking ways when she and Grandpa downsized and moved into their cottage.  I remember Aunt Esther shaking her head because she wanted to take Grandma to buy a new coverlet for her bed, but Grandma wanted to cut patches and sew a coverlet herself.  I totally understand.  Grandma was from a generation of women who found their identity in making a home and caring for their families.  I know some of them resented it, and some of their daughters wished they would take time for themselves, but I guess I, a granddaughter, saw the rosy side of this nesting." 
The potholder, wrapped.  Everything chosen by Ben.
 
4.  My uncle Ron, whose own mother died when he was 16 and who married into our family, observed that our family is "fiercely together."  He said his family is "cordial" to each other, but nothing like this.  It's true.  Sometimes I get weary of the fierce part which leads to competition, jealous tiffs, and snide remarks, but yesterday I saw the gold.
Pondering.  Counting my blessings - I'm humbled and grateful.

20 comments:

You Can Call Me Jane said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Margo. Thinking of you and your family. Your words paint such a vivid picture of her and what she was like. Keep writing....

Alica said...

I'm sorry for you loss. I'm so glad you have good memories of your Grandma to cherish!

Tracy said...

It's difficult losing a grandma, and it sounds like yours was a wonderful woman. Blessings and peace to you during this difficult time. Ben is thoughtful. :-)

Julian said...

I am sorry for your loss. I lost two grandmas last year within months of eachother. Your tribute,and your reflections are beautiful. I know that she is very much a part of you,and what a wonderful testimony of a loving grandma.
Christina

jodi inkenbrandt said...

Margo, this is beautiful. Your words, your sentiment regarding your grandma and your family, it's really touching. Something about what you said about your Grandma loving her family above all, even when they changed in ways she couldn't approve of...brought tears to my eyes. That is a true testament. I am so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you and your family during such a loss. Grandmas are so very precious. I am sure she would be so happy to be thought of, remembered, and spoke of in such wonderful ways. Shauna

jenny_o said...

I'm sorry for your loss ... good that it was a peaceful passing. I have found the same things about funerals. Your tribute was warm and gentle and Ben's thoughtfulness was touching. Peace to you and your family.

Sew Blessed Maw said...

Margo, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family.May God comfort each of you , as only He can.
Ben, what a amazing and loving little boy.. SO sweet.. I know your mom will treasure the wonderful pot holder and the sweet packaging.. Nothing to ease the hurting heart, like the love of a grandchild.
What wonderful memories of your gandma. She sounded like a wonderful lady..It brought memories of my grandmother,who has been gone for 30 yrs.. But, I still miss her and the orderly life she intilled in us..

Jacinta said...

Sorry for your loss Margo. Absolutely gorgeous of Ben to be so thoughtful and I'm sure his gift touched your mum deeply. Lovely words about your grandma and I'll say some prayers for her. xo

lizy b said...

Oh gosh, so very sorry for your loss. These times are difficult but it is amazing how much comfort all the ordinary rituals become. One of my best girlfriends just lost her most beloved grandmother and unfortunately her family has decided to forgo a funeral and ceremony. She is absolutely lost without a way to grieve. You'll be in my thoughts...

Margo said...

Lizy, I so wish your girlfriend could have the comfort of a service of some sort. I loved hearing people tell stories about my grandma, recalling things I didn't know.

Hazel said...

I'm so sorry Margo. My granny is 96 and suddenly seems a lot more frail than she was even a few months ago.

There's a lot to be said for 'fiercely together' families. My mum makes sure ours is. DH's family are only all in the same room at funerals. It's a shame.

Thinking of you.

Sarah Barry said...

Margo,
I'm so glad you have many fond memories of your grandmother and that she died peacefully. She really sounds like she was a neat lady - lovingly caring for her home and family (a lost art).

I enjoyed reading these sweet words you had to say about her.

J.C. said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Margo. From your beautiful tribute, she seemed to be an amazing woman.

So sweet of Ben to make a present to cheer up his Grandma.

Take care,
Johanna

BLD in MT said...

While is sounds like she has a great life, well-lived I am still sorry to hear of your grandmother's passing. I am right with you on the two things you've come to appreciate. When my stepfather died right before Christmas that was the silver lining. I saw my entire extended family at the holidays which was a nice thing I was not expecting to be able to do. It also made me reflective on life and priorities and love. My family is one of those fierce families, too.

And might I add that your son is so thoughtful and sweet. I love it.

Polly said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I love your tributes to her--they are so beautiful.

Sweet, sweet Ben.

Deanna Beth said...

Sorry for the loss you've experienced. And grateful for your musings.

Meghan said...

So sorry for your loss, Margo.

Shirley Kurtz said...

Margo, I like that--fierce. Tell me, are/were there fewer nesters in Ron's family? Do you see any link? Is this a dumb question?

Margo said...

Shirley, that's an interesting question. I don't know really know my uncle Ron's family (he married my mother's sister). I will ask him next time I see him because I think it's something to explore. He did marry the most nesty one of my aunts, if that means anything, and their homes, in many states, have always been havens of hospitality and order.

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