This time of year is never an ideal time to have to be away from the farm, but sometimes there is no other option. Last week my grandmother passed away after a very full 86 years. Her death was a blessing; she had a debilitating stroke about 18 months ago and her quality of life has been dismal since then. We did most of our mourning when it became clear that she would never recover from her stroke, so this week when she was finally released from her suffering we used it as an opportunity to gather as a family and celebrate her life. Ever since my generation of cousins left home for college and beyond we haven’t had many occasions to gather together as a group, and even fewer to see more distant relatives. Though not all of us were able to come to town on short notice (missed you Scott!), we did gather a good crowd for what turned out to be a really nice funeral service. It was better than I could ever have expected- all the scripture and song selections were perfect, the ministers said all the right things and my cousin Scott, who couldn’t be there in person, sent in the most beautifully worded statement on behalf of the four of us cousins which my brother read during the service. I had no idea that Scott was such an exceptional writer or that my brother was such a moving speaker (well, I already had a suspicion of the later after my brother’s infamous toast at our wedding…). I hope that I can get Scott to send me a copy of what he wrote and give me permission to post it, because he put into words so much that I could only hope to stammer about.
After the funeral we had a reception / family reunion at my parents’ home. We ended the night drinking wine, playing cards and sharing stories about grandma – some of which were old favorites but many which I’d never heard before! Apparently my naughty cousins got to hear stories about their dad’s misbehaviors after receiving spankings from grandma. Being a more perfectly behaved child, I never had such an occasion for post-spanking bonding. 😉
One of the neat things that might develop out of this family gathering is that I had a chance to chat with my Great Uncle Bob and some other relatives who have been compiling our family history and have extensive records including original civil war era letters and notebooks of journals written by Uncle Bob about his own life and what he has been told about the lives of his parents and grandparents. We are going to work together to make sure that all the originals are kept safe for future generations and make a digital library that can be shared with family members around the country. I’ve posted a few of the family trees and photos that I’ve collected so far on this blog but hope to be able to add more soon.
So that is my update on Goodbyes, my next post will be all about Hellos!