Don’t go out quietly!
This is my grandma. She requested that her funeral procession not go around town and not take back roads. She wanted her funeral procession to drive straight down Main Street honking! When the priest read her request at her funeral mass, he said it was one of the funniest requests he'd ever had.
Her family and friends were more than happy to make sure she didn't go out quietly! We drove straight down Main Street blaring our horns for Grandma! (And we made quite a racket. Grandma left behind 11 kids, 21 grandkids, 23 great-grandkids, their spouses, a sister, cousins, and lots of lifelong friends and neighbors. The kids especially enjoyed honking the horns – Grandma would have appreciated that. Tickled her pink is what she would have said.)
My grandma was an awesome woman. While everyone had their stories to share, I think three main qualities come to mind:
1. Learning. Grandma loved to learn. She did her first years in this one room school house. She then talked her father into letting her attend not just high school but college. For a women born in 1917, that's quite a feat. She never stopped learning. She read a lot and she asked lots of questions. She was always interested in other people and not afraid to ask about topics most people would shy away from. She asked me if I felt guilty for not going to church. (She wasn't trying to pressure me at all. She shared that she felt terribly guilty if she missed mass, even if it was to help out preparing food for a family after a funeral mass.) She asked Frank about raising a kid as a single dad. (That was after she said she couldn't understand how people who had kids could get a divorce. Frank said "I think I should probably tell you then that I'm divorced and have a kid." Grandma just said "I sure stuck my foot in my mouth on that one." and then proceeded to ask him lots of questions.)
2. Enjoying life, playing games and fishing. My first memories of grandma are of sitting around her dining room table eating chocolate chip cookies and playing cards for days at a time. She always had time to play with the grandkids. Later, as her eye sight started to go too, we had to spend our time doing her other favorite things like going for drives and fishing. Or watching people fish. She was always disgusted that Frank would release the fish – he was throwing away a perfectly good dinner! (Although she lived through the Great Depression, Dad said it didn't affect her or her family much. They were very frugal to start with. They grew everything they ate, saved everything, spent very little. Their main entertainment was always things like fishing and playing cards.)
3. I'm not sure what to call this one. Good negotiator, good at making friends, good caregiver? Although she appeared extremely indecisive, over the years, I realized that Grandma always got what she wanted and nobody ever got mad at her for long. She consulted with the whole world on every decision – a characteristic that often drove her kids nuts – but she usually had a strong opinion and went with it. Like driving down Main Street with your horns blaring!
There is lots, lots more to say about Grandma but I think I'll sum it up by saying she will be missed very, very much.