Today, I started yakking in emails with a fellow blogger. We chuckled at the many things we have in common, Asperger's Syndrome touching our lives, giftedness, Rheumatoid Arthritis, (his dad, me), funny how small the world is nowadays. I also started to read his blog more thoroughly, and lo and behold, yet another thing in common.
The state I grew to love with my grandma. The state where she Crossed Over and where her earthly remains were laid to rest. Minnesota. I haven't been back since I said my last goodbye to her, at her casket.
I wrote her eulogy.
I was too much of a mess to read it though, so my uncle, my mom's younger brother (but not the youngest), said he would do it. He refused to read it prior. He is a great public speaker. He broke down crying when it got to the part about the malls and shopping and he ad libbed a story that my words helped him recall, then he finished reading my eulogy. It hangs framed on beautiful flowered paper in my room right next to her picture.
It started with her many names. Gertrude, to her friends, mom to her kids, Grandma to the grandchildren and Gee-Gee to the great-grands...
Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and what she meant to me. Now I share it with you all. ( this was from 1997)
written by me, Dawn, Granddaughter
Gertrude, Mom, Grandma, or Gee-Gee was my biggest fan.
I was lucky in life to have someone who always thought I was wonderful, perfect, the best.
In her eyes, I always looked great; I'll miss that reflection of myself.
I'll try to do her memory justice now.
Gertrude, Mom, Grandma, Gee-Gee, loved to be with her family and friends.
She loved to get dressed up and go to parties - and even recently worried if she looked "too fat" or "too old".
She never wanted anyone to look at her and think "What an old lady!"
She would make me laugh, as she would refer to other seniors as "old people".
She didn't want to be one even though she was - so she tried to keep herself young at heart.
Not many 70-ish year old women went to Rick Springfield rock concerts in the early 1980's - but she did.
She always watched the latest sit-com or hot new show on TV.
She loved General Hospital and taped it for years to avoid missed shows.
She loved David Letterman and watched him often.
Here I was - in my late 20's, asleep by 10pm - and my grandmother was up watching late night TV in her 80's!
She loved to try things.
Now, I know all of you who ever went out to eat with her would think differently - because boy, was she picky.
But, when her great-grandson, my son, told her Godzilla fruit snacks were "the latest taste sensation," she just had to have some!
I also remember that about 7 or 8 years ago, my mother got her to try Mexican Coffee, it became a new favorite - often ordered in New Jersey on visits.
Some of my fondest memories date back a long time ago when Grandma still lived in Maywood.
We would go shopping together every Saturday.
We'd have lunch at Wolfie's, maybe Sterns. And we would wander the Bergen Mall - from end to end - often never buying a thing.
Our shopping tradition continued during my wonderful visits to Minnesota.
Instead we'd shop at Butler Square, St. Anthony's Walk, Northtown or Target.
In her trips back to NJ we always had to go to the Mall, the Plazaor Paramus Park.
The best part of our mall tradition was the talking and the sharing.
Whether I was nine holding her hand; nineteen; or even 29 holding her hand with a few small ones of my own; it was always a beautiful time of sharing.
On many of these trips I'd hear - "Oh, I only hope I live to see you graduate school." She did.
Then, "Oh, I only hope I liveto see you get married." She did; to a great guy that she really loved, too.
Then again, "Oh, I only hope I live to see you have children." She did.
She saw all three and she loved them a lot and shared the gift of herself with them - over and over.
I'm so grateful that she shared the gift of herself with me for almost 33 years of my life.
I'm sure you all feel the same way today, whether it was 13 years, 20 years, 43 years, 53 years or 60 years.
She loved us all and she would be so happy right now to see us all here together, in church, sharing; sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends.
Actually, I'm sure she is happy and I'm sure she is here with us right now.
Thank you Gertrude, Mom, Grandma, Gee-Gee.
I hope this conveyed a little piece of my grandma to you all. She was a wonderful treasure.
Be well, Dawn