This past spring, my grandmother passed away. It was her heart – she’d been sick for a couple of years, in out of doctor’s offices and hospitals, but there wasn’t much that they could do beyond what they’d already done. I remember visiting with her one day after a particularly long hospital stint and she said, “I always knew it would be my heart.” In those few words, I heard all the things that couldn’t be said: how she’d given so much of her heart to others and, in many ways, neglected her responsibilities to her own heart.
When we drove in for her funeral, I knew that I wanted to speak and I knew what I would say. When she first got sick, I had a feeling it was the beginning of the end and I felt like I need to tell her all the reasons why I loved and admired her. So I wrote her a letter and was able to share it with her. In honor of that amazing and beautiful woman, I’d like to share that letter with you today:
Dear Meme, you deserve to know that I think you are an amazing, incredible, beautiful, inspiring woman and I am so honored to be your granddaughter.
You are so brave, adventurous and strong while still being nurturing, elegant and unbelievably kind. I admire very much who you are and try to emulate these qualities in my own life.
You deserve to know that you have inspired me to travel and see the world and expand my horizons. I love listening to your stories about your travels and adventures.
You deserve to know that I love getting hugs from you and cuddling with you – you are a great cuddler. And some of my best childhood memories are on your lap and in your arms – I remember thinking that the world was perfect in those moments and I felt deeply loved and nurtured.
You deserve to know that your willingness to grow and change leaves me in awe of you. I hope I, too, continue to grow and change for as long as I live.
You deserve to know that your ability to go to the opera in impeccable dress while laughing at a dirty joke in the car on the way there is one of the things I love about you. You are elegant and wonderfully silly all at the same time and I admire that about you so much.
You deserve to know that I admire your deep commitment to family. You want so much for all of us to succeed and be happy and you have definitely had an integral part in making that happen in all of our lives.
You deserve to know that I am so grateful to have inherited your love of music and so grateful that you shared with me what you know.
You deserve to know that I admire your ability to maintain life long friendships as well as forge new ones along the way, no matter where your life has taken you.
You deserve to know that I admire your bravery in meeting every challenge life has thrown you and I think we both know you’ve had a few. And yet you handle every challenge with determination and grace and it is an awesome sight to see.
You deserve to know that I am deeply moved by your long and beautiful marriage to a wonderful and goofy man and the loving family that you two created.
And you deserve to know that when I have grandchildren, I will make them eggs in a frame and drink coffee milk in bed with them in the mornings and tell them stories about my Meme & Paw.
But most importantly, you deserve to know that you have lived a wonderful and inspiring life and made a world of difference in mine.
I love you.