Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pieces of Grandma

They say that daughters marry their fathers- they marry a man not realizing that he is eerily similar to their dad. I, however, did not. I married a man who has the same name as my father and while I love every thing about my dad I am actually realizing that I married my grandpa in many ways. My grandpa is one of my favorite people. He is funny, entertaining, witty, handsome and in my humble opinion lights up every room he is in. 

He is also a trouble-maker, inappropriate at times and likes to re-tell stories over and over so dare I say that he drove my grandma crazy most days- even if she never fully admitted it. She was too proper to admit such a thing. But, I will admit it, Dan drives me crazy every day. Luckily, in a good way. There is no doubt that both my grandpa and my husband loved to aggravate their wives. But, what I really love most about both of them is their love for life. 

You know how when you were a kid everything was so exciting? And everything made you laugh and smile and you were able to push your worries aside and just soak up life? For some reason, for most people, that magical ability goes away with time, leading to adulthood where you feel the need to solve those worries before you indulge yourself in the fun. Well, Dan and my grandpa found a way to prevent that from happening and that is what I love so much about both of them and that is what I mean when I say that I married my grandpa. 

That is why today was so hard. It was hard because today we laid my grandmother to rest. On New Year's Eve she lost her battle with cancer, putting an end to 74 beautiful years of life. We'll miss her dearly, but I think there is a big piece of all of us who are thankful that she is no longer in pain because these past few months and really these past few years she has been in a lot of pain. So, today we said 'goodbye' for now- and we knew that would be hard. But what made it really hard was seeing my grandpa for the first time in my life look old. It was enough to break my heart in a million pieces. 

So tonight I'll pray hard that he's okay. That he's able to get a good night's rest, knowing that Grandma is in a much better place and that she would only be at peace if she knew his love of life would bound back bigger than ever. And it will, I know it will. 

I didn't mean to make this all about Grandpa, I meant to make this about Grandma and how much I love her and miss her and so here is the eulogy I wrote and said today in church which I call "Pieces of Grandma":

Grandma holding Jackson who was just days old
Seventy-four years ago, on October 23, 1936 Barbara Ann Ecklar was born into this world. As a mom, I can only imagine the dreams that her mother and father held in their hearts that day for their only daughter, but little did they know that Barbara Ann Ecklar would grow up to be Barbara Ann Mosmeier and together with my Grandpa she would bring into this world 3 daughters, 1 son, 4 granddaughters, 5 grandsons, 2 great-granddaughters and 3 great-grandsons.

Together with our spouses, there are now 26 of us who called her wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother- or, as more often heard, Grandma Roy or Another Mamaw.  Twenty-six of us who now have the responsibility, the honor, the privilege, to carry a little piece of Grandma Roy with us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. And in doing so I assure you, not only will we keep her alive, but if we live as she lived, we will make this world a little better along the way.  

There are countless pieces of Grandma Roy that I know we would all like to carry with us. Countless memories she made with us, countless lessons she taught us and feelings of love, warmth and peacefulness that she exuded simply with her presence. But there are a few parts of her that, in my opinion, stand out above the rest, a few things about my grandma that I pray someday, if I dig deeply enough, maybe I will be able to find inside of me and more importantly, pass along to my own children.   

The first of these would have been evident to anyone who knew my Grandma; if you met her even just once you would know that she never wished to be the center of attention. She never wanted to be fussed over or to be put in the spotlight. She preferred to sit back and let Grandpa Roy play that role, forever amused by his jokes and stories, even if she had heard them a million times. I can almost hear her laughing now, quietly sighing, “oh, Roy” as he would tell us all, again, how one time he was on TV. Yes, it is true, my grandpa was on TV… that is until Grandma told him to get off before he broke it.

One reason why Grandma had such a quiet and soft-spoken demeanor was because it was simply a part of her nature. Some of us would also argue that it was to balance out Grandpa, but really, I believe it was because she didn’t need to raise her voice.  She didn’t need to shout or use harsh language. She never needed to dominate a conversation or a room to make a point or to leave an impression because she had the most amazing inner strength and intelligence that gave her unquestionable quiet wisdom. Quiet wisdom that never left anyone doubting where should stood on anything.  Although every once in awhile if she needed to reiterate a point, she would leave us not-so-discreet clues by handing us a magazine or book with a page corner folded down, guiding us to exactly what it is she wanted us to read, thus getting her point across.  

Books in general were another big part of her life. If there is one lesson that she most often taught us, it was to never stop learning, to place prioritized focus on always pushing ourselves to know and understand more. She communicated this best through her example, through her insatiable hunger for knowledge that was most commonly seen through her love of reading.  Personally, I especially enjoyed her tactic of supporting our education by paying us what I recall to be $7.oo for each “A” earned on our report cards as children. I don’t know if it was irony or completely intentional that this far out-weighed the mere $3.00 that I would earn for an entire day of work at the B&G. On any given day she would have been perfectly happy to sit quietly reading. I think this is why she was so supportive of all of Grandpa’s toys, because she knew she could sneak in some reading time while he was outside playing.

They balanced each other out perfectly that way- in so many ways really. I think it is that balance that made their marriage work. It’s that balance that along with their unwavering faith in God allowed them to not only stay married, but stay in love for 54 years. The example that they set with their marriage is, in my opinion, the greatest gift they gave to all of us. They showed us what unconditional love was by loving each other. They showed us what commitment was by committing to their faith and each other. They showed us what God intended marriages to be. This is a piece of her that I know for a fact is already living on.

Maybe you knew my Grandma from here at St. John’s or maybe from camping at Indian Lakes. Maybe you knew her from her years at Hillenbrand’s or perhaps from the time when B&G stood for Barb & Grandpa. Perhaps you were a part of her circle of friends who loved to play cards or maybe you were like me and were fortunate enough to call her family. However you knew her, wherever you knew her, I think you would agree with me when I say that “we will miss her” is beyond an understatement. But we will, we will miss her, but we also know that this is not “goodbye”, this is only “see you later.” Let us take comfort in knowing that there is no doubt that she is in a better place, that there is no doubt that she made it to that place where we all pray we too will go. And finally, let us take comfort in knowing that because she was such a guiding light in our lives we now have what we need to keep her alive in each of us, brining her along with us wherever it is we are to go.

We love you Grandma, we know you are here with us today and will be watching down upon us every day. We just pray that all that we do and all that we say will make you smile.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jessica. My heart is breaking for your family - but especially your grandpa. I hope he remembers that it IS "See you later" and that your grandma is no longer in pain.


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