My grandmother unexpectedly died last week, so the kids and I went to Houston to attend the funeral. It was a beautiful service where everyone shared their memories of her and really captured who she was. My brother and I had a very close relationship with our grandma. She was spoiling, doting, fun, and everytime we were with her she made it a special time. As I have gotten older I realize that there aren't very many kids who have been as lucky as I was to have the kind of memories & relationship that I had with my grandma. I have also realized that though there are a lot of things that my parents do that drive me crazy (let the kids stay up WAY too late, allow them to eat all over the house, treat junk food like a meal, buy them something everywhere we go, sleep with them, get them up before nap time is over, allow the kids to be demanding...just to list a few) they are building memories and a very special relationship with them that will last their life time. My kids need that special bond with their grandparents that I had with mine. They will be better for it just like I am better for knowing, loving and having my grandma.
ps. i'm know my grandma drove my parents crazy breaking all the rules...i can't wait 'till it's my turn!!
(Here are the thoughts I shared at ther funeral:)
My grandma was a lady who lived life to the fullest. She had energy and zest for life that I’ve rarely seen anyone with. I don’t remember many times where she sat still or looked bored. She was always moving, always going and always doing. There were many things that she enjoyed in life, but was particularly passionate about music, friends and family.
Grandma loved music and some of my greatest memories involve her singing and dancing with, & for, Danny and I. One of my earliest memories of her is when she used to rock me to sleep on the porch swing she and my grandfather once had. First she would tell me a story and then she would sing to me until I fell asleep. As soon as she would stand up to put me in bed I would wake up and tell her, "not yet", so she would sit back down and continue singing. I just loved falling asleep in her arms, smelling her scent. I also fondly remember all the times that she used to put on this crazy Disney record she had and Danny, grandma and I would dance around until we were all three on the floor laughing. Many of my memories involve her singing and dancing around the house with music in the background.
Grandma was a "doer" and was always doing something for someone. She loved taking care of people and one of the many ways she showed her love was by cooking for them. I have fond memories of her in the kitchen making fudge, Mississippi mud pie, her "cool whip cake", or her famous Hawaiian chicken wings. She was a lady who loved to cook and you couldn’t tell by the size of her, but she loved to eat too! One legacy that I want to pass on to my children, that was modeled to me by my grandma, was her love to do things and take care of others.
What grandma loved the most in her life was her family and friends. She was always telling Danny and I stories about the people in her life. Some of her favorite stories were of her brothers & sisters, when she got pregnant with my dad, the time that Uncle Mark flushed a bird or a fish (something) down the toilet, the first time that she and my dad gave me a bath, how Danny used to pronounce my name when he was a baby and her favorite one that she would tell all the time was how she met her Ralph. She had many stories of her family and did an amazing job passing them on to me so that I can pass them down to my kids.
My grandma was such a huge part of my life. I have the greatest memories of spending the night at her house, all the time Danny and I spent in the car with her, her love of dressing up - in costume or for "Rodeo Days", her bright red lipstick, the smell of Tabu, the decorations in her house, her love of family photo’s, her bird Tippy, watching Johnny Carson (who she loved) with her, listening to Bette Midler with her, the many tears she shed over my grandfather, all the crazy times we had, my school events she went to, her love of the beach; the list goes on and on. Many of the things that I most enjoy today are largely due to the influence that she had on my life.
I’ve missed my grandma for many years now. Whenever I came in town it was so hard for me to see her because she was only the shell of the woman who took care of me and was such a huge part of my life. I know that she would want to be remembered as someone who lived and danced and served and loved with joy and incredible enthusiasm. I may not recognize many of your faces, but I recognize all of your names because my grandma loved you and probably had a story about you that she’s telling her Ralph about now. Good-bye grandma. I’ll try to carry on your love for life, music, service and family, but doubt that anyone could do it with as much passion as you!