In The Kitchen With a Granddaughter
I wrote and gave the eulogy at my Grandma’s funeral in 2005. She was granted a peaceful death in her sleep, resting in her own bed on a Sunday morning. After reading it again today, I still think it gives a nice description of her and how special she was to our family. I’d like to thank my friend who sent me prayers for mourning, it was comforting while I was preparing for the funeral, and I selected the Psalms 16 reading from day 3 of the prayers. Here is my eulogy, I’ve only removed her name for privacy and added the musical footnote:
The facts of a person’s life, when they were born and who survived them, mark a person’s time on the calendar and place on the map. It speaks of the people they loved. But there is so much more to my grandmother and these are the things we will miss most- her favorite past times, her routines and her character.
She was a farmer’s daughter and married a farmer. They farmed at Seymour, Vera and Turkey for 44 years. Her favorite smell was fresh plowed earth. Nonnie married her high school sweetheart and enjoyed 52 years of marriage. There was something special about their relationship. I loved the way they would do anything for each other. They truly enjoyed one another’s company and had a just wanted to make each other happy and I hope I can have a long, happy marriage as well.
From a young age, she enjoyed singing. She loved to sing at church, listen to the radio and watch Grand Ole Opry. She loved Charlie Pride, the Oak Ridge Boys, the Gaithers and other country and gospel singers. She hummed when she cooked and did chores. Her favorite part of church was the singing (we all know what she did toward the end of most sermons- doze off!) and I know she loved to worship God in song by the pure joy in the way she sang. I’ll miss that.
She was an excellent cook and her kitchen was always a buzz of wonderful smells and country food. She loved to bake cakes and brownies for people and take food to the sick. She cooked her widowed father lunch every day for many years and walked it down the street to his house. I love the way she could gently direct little children who wanted to help with the cooking and didn’t mind if there were messes.
She also was the crafty type and was always into the latest crochet, quilting or craft fad. She showed great creativity in her projects. She did lovely handwork. She enjoyed crafting with friends and put her love for the recipient in every loop and stitch. Her last project, completed only days ago, was an afghan for her new great granddaughter.
She was a very good gardener. I suppose it would have been a liability to the family business if she did not have a green thumb. She grew gorgeous zinnias and marigolds and daffodils in her flowerbeds and roses on the side yard. She could coax giant amaryllis to grow out of milk cartons each spring. I loved to help her garden when I visited and when I had my own home we would spend lots of time talking about planting and growing advice, suggestions for which plants to try. The first time our peppers succeeded, she came and showed us how to can them. Her favorite flower was the bluebonnet and I always thought it was too bad that the climate wasn’t kind to bluebonnets in North Texas. Yellow roses were her favorite flower to give and receive.
Some of you may not know that she enjoyed baseball and softball a great deal. She played softball in school and she and her husband enjoyed watching baseball together. She spoke fondly about going to see Yankee and Cardinals pre-season exhibition games in Witchita Falls and Dallas. She kept up with her grandson’s Little League games and when my son started to play, she enjoyed hearing the latest about his games and accomplishments too.
She also loved the sport of fishing. She fished with her cousins and friends, she fished with her husband, and she taught all the kids and grandkids how to fish. It was always one of the highlights of a trip to see them and it was so much fun.
She was a faithful follower of Christ for 72 years. She regularly attended church, was a deacon’s wife and supported the fellowship of believers with her prayers, pies and handiwork.
She was proud of all her children, grandchildren and great grands and she openly expressed it on a regular basis. She always said her greatest possession was her children. I loved to watch her walk through the door with her arms open ready to hug the little ones and hold the babies.
Undoubtedly her greatest legacy is the faith in God that she lived by and shared with others. She was blessed to be rocked as a baby with the sound of Jesus’ name whispered in her ear by her mother. She was raised in a Christian home and regularly participated in church activities and worship. She lived a life that brought honor to her role as a deacon’s daughter and deacon’s wife. She passed her love of God and hope in heaven on to her children and grandchildren.
There is not a person in this room that she did not pray for, and some of us needed LOTS of prayers. We were always covered with her petitions to the throne of God and I’m not sure that there is an adequate replacement for this loss to our lives.
She always advised me to depend upon the word of God to guide me and comfort me. And so on this day of grieving I turn to her wisdom. And so I look to the word of God for comfort and words to say when words are difficult to come by.
Psalm 16: “1 Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. 2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Master! All the good things I have are from you.” 3 The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! 4 Those who chase after other gods will be filled with sorrow. I will not take part in their sacrifices or even speak the names of their gods. 5 LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. 6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! 7 I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 9 No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in safety. 10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your godly one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
When Grandpa was very close to death he told me that when he slept he went to a quiet place and stood in front of a shimmering river. On the other side of the river was his deceased son sitting under a tree and they would talk. He would be so disappointed when he woke up. I know that this past Sunday morning that angels came to escort dear Grandma to the other side of the river to join her husband and her son and the rest of her family. And though we will miss her presence with us in this place of worship, I know she is doing what she loved- worshiping her God and singing with joy.
Musical pairing: “Secret O’ Life” by James Taylor, 1977 and “Amazing Grace” the Chris Tomlin version, 2007