This week, my family gathered to honor the life of my grandma Jeanette who recently passed away after a long two-year battle with cancer. I find that events such as funerals often make us consider many aspects of our lives as we recall the life of the loved one we lost. So this week has been heavy with many moments of remembrance and reflection. These are some of my thoughts.

To start, I am so grateful that my family could gather in the first place. While the service was held outdoors and very limited to guests, some of us were able to gather afterward since we have received vaccines. Although our gathering was under mournful circumstances, it was so nice to gather with them. It also reminded me that I am not alone in the grieving process. 

My grandma was a very classy, sweet and gentle lady, but was also extremely loyal and a little stubborn. I have looked up to her since I was a young girl and see a lot of myself in her. I imagine some of our connection came from spending so much time together, especially when I was little. Grandma’s house was like a second home where there were always cookies to bake, makeup to try out and Barbie dolls to play with. As I grew a bit older, my childhood best friend was next door neighbors to my grandma’s house which meant I was there ALL the time. 

My grandma also loved to shop.  Once I was old enough to enjoy shopping, I went on many shopping trips with her, my mom and sister. My brother and dad even came along sometimes. 

Although she did like to find nice items for herself and always made sure that she was dressed well, she also loved to buy for others. Grandma could buy the best presents and always made sure you felt special whether it was your birthday, Christmas, or any time you might need a gift. 

As we gathered for the funeral, people shared what they remembered about her. These traits and many more were brought up, along with the memories that they were connected to. There are many things that will remind me of her, but I think the stories we will share as a family about her are what will keep her memory alive. 

One of the scariest things is to think that we may forget someone. Forget what they did, what they sounded like, how they felt, and what it was like to have them here. I know that I will have many, many conversations about my grandma with my family including my siblings, my parents, my aunts and uncles, and cousins. We all have our own memories of her and piecing them together helps to make the picture complete. 

And yet, we are still learning about her. As we go through her belongings we find photos, letters, notes, and items that she held onto through the years. There wasn’t time to review everything while she was with us so some of her story we will have to put together ourselves. These items can be a tangible way to see and hold onto her even though she isn’t with us. 

I don’t have a satisfying way to conclude my thoughts, so I thought I would simply share a few quotes about grandma’s and how truly special they can be. 

“There are grandmothers out there who would move heaven and earth for their grandchildren.” Janice Elliot-Howard

“Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.” Marcy DeMaree

“Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies.” Unknown

“There’s no place like home except Grandma’s.” Unknown

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