(Eulogy for my grandmother – delivered December 12, 2018.)
When we were kids, there was almost nothing that Mommom wouldn’t let us do. Jump on the bed? She’d lead us in a rousing game of “Chop Chop Timber”. Play in the mud? She’d draw a bath and make sure our clothes were clean before we went home. Drink Pepsi for breakfast? “Just don’t tell your mother.” If we broke something, she’d just shrug and say, “No one got hurt.” And if we did get hurt, she pull out the band-aids and assure us that we’d be better before we were married. I didn’t even know that she knew how to be angry until that one time I used her sewing scissors to cut paper. (One time.)
Her patience with us as children was indicative of her patience with everyone. She accepted that people made mistakes, and she forgave easily. Where others held grudges or distanced themselves from people in their lives, my grandmother would forgive and find the good. She didn’t always understand the decisions other people made, but she didn’t have to understand someone to love them. She accepted that everyone was flawed, and she loved them anyway.
She opened her home to anyone who needed a place to stay – for a night or for a year. There was nothing that she had that couldn’t be borrowed, and nothing that she owned that was more important than the people in her life. Mommom was embarrassed by nothing and allowed herself to enjoy life without worrying about what others might think. She literally danced as if no one was watching and sang as if no one was listening.
If you didn’t know her well, you might begin to see the picture of a woman without flaws – but most of us know better. And the things that I loved about her the most were those perfect imperfections that made her who she was.
She was stubborn. She didn’t think that she was always right, but right or wrong, she was going to do things her way. She was a selective hoarder – of buttons, scraps of fabric, jars of jelly far past their expiration date, and 10 year old poinsettias that looked like barren collections of twigs but still produced a flower every once in awhile.
While it was my Mommom Amond who had the vocabulary of a sailor, it was Mommom Burd who taught me to curse creatively – taking every day words and infusing them with the spirit of profanity.
She believed – above everything else – in living her life, rather than striving for perfection. She appreciated what she had, and she never wanted anything more.
Her legacy will continue to impact the world for many generations to come. She shaped and helped to raise four strong-willed and independent granddaughters, and two great-granddaughters coming up behind. My dad has her goofy sense of humor and her inability to be embarrassed by much of anything – and her ability to accept the imperfections of others. And it is my aunt who has inherited her endless generosity and caring, her compassion, and her heart.
As you leave here today, we ask you to reflect on and celebrate the impact that she had on you. Maybe it is as simple as a favorite recipe that she shared. Maybe she helped to care for your family when someone was sick. Maybe she gave you a place to stay, a loan, or just the gift of her time. Or maybe she taught you to forgive easily, forget quickly, laugh often, play without embarrassment, and love without conditions.