A few weeks ago -when was it?- I wrote a short eulogy for my cat PJ. It was heartfelt, I loved that cat, but it seems a little bit strange to follow it so soon with a real human eulogy. If you didn’t catch the news from this week’s comics, on Monday my Grandma died. This week my comics were a shallow testament to some of my fondest memories, shallow not because the individual memories were weak, but because in their richness they left thousands more untold.
There is a time for pictures and there is a time for words, and I feel like it’s only right to finish the week with a few such words. If I can find them… there are no less than 6 million thoughts floating around in my head as I start this. How do you remember a woman who has been so completely interwoven in your life, since before your memory was even formed? But okay, let’s try it.
Today was the funeral, and also the burial. After a beautiful service at her church, we laid my Grandma to rest next to my Grandpa, and a few plots away from her sisters and brother, her mother and father (my great grandparents). It was snowing all day and the ground and sky were the same color, indistinguishable from one another except for a gray line of trees on the horizon. This is my saddest memory of my Grandma, in all the time I’ve known her.
Which is only to say that the rest of the memories were happy ones. Sounds trite to say that, but I actually tried this: I tried to think of a memory with my Grandma that was not good. The best I could think of were times when I had gotten hurt, in that reckless way that children do. My grandparents lived on a lake. One time I was swimming there and cut my foot on an oyster shell or something sharp. Another time I found leeches on my leg. Even these memories, though, are colored rose by the kind way that my Grandma tended my wounds and soothed my frazzled nerves.
She helped me with my art projects, she taught me to sew, she loved watching movies and reading novels and playing Apples to Apples. She would hold my hand when she talked to me. She loved our pets. She had the sweetest smile and a gleam in her eye that revealed her sly sense of humor. She was highly fashionable but never made me feel any less for dressing constantly in jeans and sweatshirts. Her house was the finest restaurant, and her home our favorite hotel. She was honest, she was strong. She was bold in her faith. She read us stories as kids and told us stories as adults. She had a spirit that no one past or present could replicate.
I could write a novel about this woman, there is too much to say. She was sweet and kind, the way that we all expect Grandmas to be, but she went beyond that. She was involved with our lives. She was invested in us. She gave of herself so completely, that now that she has left this earth she still hasn’t left us. She isn’t some old grandma stereotype, and I wish this wasn’t some stereotypical eulogy. If you knew her, you’d know what I mean. If you didn’t know her, I hope you could know a little bit of her by knowing me. I mean, I hope to honor her with my life, because she helped make me who I am.
So yeah, that’s my Grandma. Gladys Wiederhoeft. One of the nice things about faith in Christ is we believe this goodbye is only temporary. She’s probably warming up the Pfaff sewing machine in heaven, getting her first heavenly assignment. Maybe she’ll sew our next sunset! Maybe she’s already a member of heaven’s Ladies Aid, or preparing her famous cookies for a gang of hungry saints. I’ll miss her terribly, but I’m so blessed to have known her for 26 years. I love you, Grandma!