When I first started writing the “Here I am Lord” post, I didn’t even realize it was in the same month that my Grammy passed away. Fifteen years ago, January 4th, Grammy was born to eternal life. I thought I would post her eulogy in gratitude for all the ways she touched my heart when she walked this earth and in thanksgiving for the way she continues to bless my life from her perch above. I have yet to taste a sugar cookie like yours Grammy, and I doubt I ever will. Love and miss you.
For each one of us here today, Eva brings back different memories. To my father, John, and to my uncles, Richard and Robert, she was a mother. To their wives, she was a mother-in-law. To Natalie, she was a sister. To others, she was an aunt, a cousin, a loyal friend. Perhaps she was your next door neighbor or your colleague who volunteered her time in the museum. To me, to my sisters, and to my cousins, she was Grammy.
When I think of Grammy, I can’t help but be reminded of a small needlepoint that my mother gave to her when I was young. The inscription on the needlepoint read as follows:
Some grandmothers ride in limousines, wear fine clothes and pretty rings but my Grammy’s best by far because she has a cookie jar.
Although Grammy blessed each one of our lives in very different ways, I would imagine we can all find our own memories of her wrapped in this simple poem. It defines Grammy as a woman who cherished the simple things in life. A small treasure found at the weekend yard sale was worth more than any expensive gift you could give her. She found her happiness in the company of her family and her friends.
When I was young, I admired Grammy for her uncanny ability to create perfect animal shapes out of my pancakes. I thought her home was one big treasure chest-you could find everything from games and stuffed animals to those extra special treasures like my father’s old retainers. I was sure she was the coolest Grammy in town-I didn’t know any other grandmother that would faithfully get out her sled and take a few runs on the golf course hill each and every winter.
Looking back, I now understand her to be a woman who cared deeply for her grandchildren and worked tirelessly to create a loving atmosphere for her family. I see a woman who had a great deal of respect for her Swedish roots; a woman who clung to the important memories of her past and took special care to preserve them. I see a woman who was not afraid to live every day to the fullest. I see a woman who will always be remembered fondly by those who had the great fortune to be a part of her life.
I will miss Grammy dearly, as we all will. As my father said, “she has left a big void in the Deforge family-she was the leader.” As much as this is true, I hope you will all rejoice with me in the knowledge that Grammy; the mother, sister, and friend that she was, and always will be, has reunited with her husband, her sister Bobbie, her brother Roland, her own mother and father; and all of her loved ones that she has missed for so many years.
I recently saw a play that depicted Heaven as a place where those that have passed before us are taking an extended nap. They would only awaken when those they left behind brought them to memory.
These past few days it is clear Grammy has not received a wink of sleep as we have all been reminiscing of our favorite memories with her. In speaking with others, some of those memories include her famous pot roast dinners, the warmth and comfort of her kitchen, her laugh, her gardening, even her annual swim in the lake-sneakers and all. As we all try to move forward, I challenge us to keep Grammy awake in our hearts and our minds.
Some grandchildren will remember a grandmother who drove a limousine, wore fine clothes or pretty rings. I however, will remember my Grammy to be best by far, because she had the cookie jar.