Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Afterglow

I know I've been a little absent here lately, as we all got hit with a terrible virus the day after Christmas, and then Chris' grandmother suddenly passed away on New Year's Day, which left us all extremely saddened and preoccupied in grief and tying up affairs. Although she wasn't my own grandmother by blood, I truly felt like she was. She and I shared a special relationship and I am so grateful for everything I shared with her and learned from her in the 7 years of knowing such an amazing, strong, fiercely loving woman. It has been a hard, grieving time for us all, but amidst the tears and sadness, we've been spending hours upon hours together, creating poster boards filled with pictures of her life, and a video compilation of many, many moments to be played at her funeral. It was as if going through all those past memories with her, seeing all the joyous times, seeing all her love everywhere that trickled down to three whole generations -- it made it a little bit easier. Her life had an epic quality to it, a quintessentially American story, a nostalgic and charmed quality, a life filled with family and music and weekend barbecues with friends and grandchildren. We can't stand in the way of death, but when it comes, we can stand in its face together, and celebrate having loved fiercely and expressively. And that is exactly what we did. 
When her funeral finally came I was a weepy mess the entire time. I couldn't hold too many conversations with people and was mostly trying to catch my breath and composure. When it was my turn to stand up and give a reading, I somehow pulled it together and read the entire thing, smoothly, without choking up once. The second I began walking up to that pulpit, I received a new sense of pride in that moment -- that I was chosen to stand up there in front of all these people she shared life with and play an important role in her service. I was proud to have known her, to have learned from her, to have been a recipient of her overflowing love and affection, to have played a small role in such an extraordinary story. 
My husband posted this on Facebook after her death and I thought he said it best, and wanted to share it here,
"God called my husband's Grandmother home to be with Him on New Years Day - After having spent 94 years on this earth... We were fortunate to have all just shared what she described as a 'perfect Christmas' together only a few days earlier... My grandma was a truly an amazing women ... she drove a car until she was 90 and managed to maintain a social calendar that continuously put mine to shame... She lived alone independently in the same childhood home her children grew up in until her very last moments... They say 'behind every great man is a great women' which was true with her being the loving force behind my incredibly talented Grandfather, but really what she taught us so well is that 'behind every great family is an unstoppable, powerful force of a women'. She was that and so much more everyday during her almost century-long adventure building our family to what it is today... Despite the terrible pain she carried with her after out-living my Grandpa and both her children, my mother and uncle – she continued to find joy in the small moments of life, took so much pride in our ever growing family and the many, many cherished friendships she had - this joy was especially noticeable when she spent time with her great grandchildren sharing the special, gentle love they had for their 'Nana'. We created this video as a memorial to honor my grandmother.... It was played at her funeral and I wanted to share for anyone who was not able to attend or simply is interested in her fantastic story.."


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