On our wedding day nearly 12 years ago, my three grandparents. My grandma Virginia is in the floral dress.
This past weekend I was fortunate to attend my paternal grandmother's funeral service in Denver, CO. I wouldn't have been able to go had it not been for the generosity of my aunt & uncle, and Stefan's willingness to afford us a portion of a ticket and a day at work with two stir-crazy kids. It was a quick trip; I flew out on Friday morning and returned Sunday afternoon.
I was able to visit my grandfather's grave in Ft. Logan National Cemetery, see their old house, reconnect with family I hadn't seen in a long time, and go through old pictures- some of which are now waiting for an album at home! I also got to speak at her service, which I felt good about-honoring her memory and giving closure to that time of my life that is sadly now over. I have no remaining family in Colorado, and I spent many years traveling, jeeping, camping, and enjoying it there! It's a bit sad, but it was good.
Here is the eulogy I had prepared for her service, just a portion of the fun times I had growing up and spending time with her and my grandpa, who passed away nearly 8 years ago.
My name is Sarah and Virginia was my grandmother. I’m here today because I had wonderful memories of her, and while her death was swift, the memories I have are decades long, and for that I’m grateful.
Here are a few from over the years:
As a small child I remember heading out to Denver to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to spend Christmas with them, and boy! Was she good at picking and wrapping presents. As a child, getting to open a giant box full of clothes (even underwear! --so practical) and other gifts was a very fun experience. She never forgot an enormous stocking for each grandchild filled to the brim-even stapled shut at times-with the best kind of chocolate candies.
My aunt Brenda and Uncle Mike Wolfe were like a second set of parents that I had while growing up, and often we’d go to Colorado in the summer, to go jeepin’ in the mountains. We’d drive the 8 hours from Lincoln and then stop by grandma and grandpa’s house to pick them up before heading to the small towns that we’d explore, camp, shop the souvenir shops, and 4-wheel. They both loved going out to the mountains, and Grandma would just revel in how beautiful nature was. She’d sometimes repeat things two or three times, emphasizing something she say, “just LOOK at that, just LOOK at that!” and “Ain’t that purdy, babe?!” or “oh, let’s do it again!”. She was in her element, just having a ball.
The final memory I have is actually pretty good advice for any relationship. My grandpa Eli could be an ornery old cuss at times, and if he would get worked up about something, Grandma would just say, “now just stop it old man!” or something similar--a few times with a grin on the side of her mouth--and he’d just stop, stare at her for a brief second with his eyes bugged out, and just laugh and laugh. She knew how to dispel a moment gaining tension by humor, a smile, and a gentle reproach. We can all learn from that.
As an adult, I only got to visit her a few times with my own family, but I’m glad we got to share those memories; that my children got to know her. By sending her pictures, mailing her coloring pages, talking over the phone, and more, they got a share in the family memories, too, and for that, I’m thankful. We love you grandma.