I’m not sure how to start this… No idea what to say or do… I feel like being really really selfish. I feel like that’s why we’re all gathered here today. Grandma doesn’t care that we’re here. The part of her that cared about things on this fairly messed up hunk of spinning rock is laying in that box over there. She doesn’t care, but I do.
So I want to talk about her the way I want to, not the way I think she might want me to. Grandma was a part of a lot of things. She did a lot more in her life than a girl from south St. Louis could really ever hope. But I don’t really want to talk about that.
A large part of this room knows each other because of my grandparents. Grandpa had a way of bringing people together. Grandma had a way of keeping them there.
I’m not going to say that people were important to her. I don’t think that’s exactly true; that makes it sound like it was a conscious effort on her part. But it was just her character… who and how she was. Maybe it was a talent, maybe a gift. I never thought it was something she practiced, but it was certainly something she perfected.
And honestly, that’s exactly what I want to remember her by… all of you. Don’t get me wrong; I love all the stories of the days on the farm and down in the valley. I’ll miss the card games and the food. But I have all of you; I have almost every important thing she’s ever given me right here in this room.
I’ve been telling people this the past couple of days whenever I tell them about her stage left exit. The response to the news is pretty much the same… “I’m sorry to hear that.” “My condolences.” and then “How old was she?” When I say her age, people almost invariably reply “Ah, so she lived a good life.”
To that I have to smile. She did live a good life. She had 4 good daughters, 6 good grandkids, 3 and a half good great-grandkids. All told, that’s a pretty good life.
She’s seen a good chunk of the country and a good bit of the world. Lived in a lot of those places, vacationed in the rest. A lot of people wish for a life that good.
She spent the better part of her life married to a good man. A man who truly loved her. A man who was capable of showing her that he truly loved her… from time to time. Honestly, that’s about as good as it gets.
In my hands I hold a check my Grandma wrote me earlier this year. I told her that I was going to get Lasik eye surgery and she wanted to pay for the whole thing. She gave me the check as I was leaving my brother’s house and I barely even glanced at it before I protested that I had already saved up enough to pay for it myself. I wanted her to spend her money on whatever she wanted. She told me that was exactly what she was doing. I took the check without another word.
The next day I found out that I’m that guy. I’m the guy who isn’t a candidate for the surgery. So I didn’t cash the check. In fact, I forgot about it till I was getting a ticket up here for this funeral. For whatever reason I was concerned that it might somehow affect the estate that I hadn’t cashed it. When I pulled it back out, I noticed two things.
First, she hadn’t filled in the date. I laughed as I filled it in, since I think I’ve done that for every check she’s given me for as long as I can remember. But then my mind began to wander. What if the bank didn’t trust the check? I didn’t think I was going to cash it, but if I needed to for some reason, would it constitute fraud?
Silly, I know. This is what happens when you’re packing for a funeral on too little sleep. Thankfully the brain train was derailed by the memo field. I hadn’t paid much attention to it. I never really do. I just assumed she had written “Lasik surgery” or “New eyes” or something. But no, the second thing on this check I noticed was what she had written in the memo field:
God bless you and keep you
I gotta tell you, I’ve cashed this check in full. The Lord has blessed me. My God has kept me. Just like he blessed her. Just like he has kept her. Just like he will always keep her. My Grandma is right now with a God who has already proved that he loves his children so much that he will never let them stay dead for long.
My Grandma lived a good life. And it’s really only just started. So now I leave you with the last words she left me:
God bless you and keep you
Posted with : Offering