A Death in the Family

Tomorrow is my grandmother’s funeral. I wont be there. It’s not that I don’t want to be, even though I kind of don’t; and it’s not because I can’t, though that is most certainly true. I have, however, been asked to help write the eulogy because I am “the one who can write” in my family. In doing this I discovered a few surprising things.

I loved my Grandma Donna, but sometimes it was very hard to like her. She grew up in a very different time, but that is no excuse for some of the things she did. She was the kind of woman who made you finish everything on your plate, even if you didn’t put it together yourself, because you ought to be thankful for what you had. While I understand the concept the practice never made me any more thankful for my food; but it made me a lot more thankful  for the family dog.

She did not often say “I love you” or tell me when I did a good job. She was quick to point out when I had made mistakes. She was ruthlessly disgusted by anyone she thought was ‘fat’ and she didn’t care for whining of any variety. Homosexuality was a sin and girls ought to put time into their appearance; but not too much.

She once told my seven year old sister who was still recovering from several stomach surgeries that she was getting fat.

Do not mistake me, not everything about my Grandmother was harsh. She taught me how to make a dollar stretch, how to sew my own clothes, how to alter hemlines. She wanted me to be a self sufficient woman. My first cooking lesson was at her elbow and from her I learned the magic that turned a seed into a plant to dinner.

It was because of my grandmother that I know all the words to The Wizard of Oz and the Sound of Music. She introduced me to thrift stores, and romance novels. She had a large impact on the person that I am today.

But I learned, in writing this little snippet, that if she hadn’t been my grandmother I probably wouldn’t have loved her much.

 

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