This past weekend my family celebrated her life - she died June 6, 2011 - at 100.
I was honored to be asked to give a eulogy for her...something I have never done before. While I was honored, I admit I was a bit intimidated at the thought. How do I summarize in a few brief moments what my grandma meant to me, all of my memories of her and all the the things I loved about her? I prayed that God would give me the right words and above all that those who were there would walk away knowing just how much she was loved. Here are some thoughts I shared at her funeral...
Although grandma was 100 and you could say that she has lived a long life and it is probably “her time”…I think that we just thought she would live forever. I mean, after all – she has lived through 6 wars (WW1, WW2, Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, War on Terror) , 23 presidencies, and the great depression. In her time plastic was formed, a man walked on the moon and the personal computer was invented. She has overcome great hardship, personal loss and battled cancer. She had lived to see the passing of her son, son-in-law and a great-grandchild. Although she appeared meek and mild, she had great strength and perseverance. But that day did come, and she did die, and it was shocking to us because we had come to count on the fact that God was persevering grandma and she would always be with us.
The childhood memories I cherish most are the hot summer afternoons when she would greet my brothers and me on her back porch with a platter piled high with ice cold watermelon; rainy afternoons spent rediscovering every piece of jewelry she kept in her wonderful white jewelry box atop her dresser; and racing my brothers to the front door of her home to see who could get to the green footstool first...the top of the footstool came off and stored inside were all kinds of treasures for us - lincoln logs, coloring books and crayons. We never knew when there would be something new inside that footstool to delight our hearts!
In recent years, we had the great privilege of having her stay with us for weeks at a time. I remember long afternoon conversations - she would sit at my kitchen counter while I would make dinner. She loved to discuss anything - politics, religion, education - but most of all her family! She looked forward to taking drives – just running errands was fine with her. Our trips always included an ice cream cone or McDonald’s fries! She enjoyed sitting on our patio by the pool and “resting her eyes”. Our two dogs, Sash and Cesar loved grandma too! On those afternoons when a snack was in order we would throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave while the dogs waited. She would stand at the counter and put one piece in her mouth and when no one was looking (or so she thought) she would throw a piece over her shoulder as the dogs scrambled to scoop it up!
A most important conversation with my grandma took place several years ago while she was staying with us. One afternoon we were talking about the things of God – with tears in her eyes she spoke of grace and I knew she understood the kindness of the Lord that forgives and loves.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Chris…For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I think grandma understood this amazing good news: "that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".
I love you grandma and miss you already...