For My Grandma
My Grandma Hafenstein passed away recently from a major stroke. I am thankful that the doctors said that it was quick and there was minimal suffering, if any. It was unexpected, since she was in pretty good health and still physically active, not to mention that the family has been more concerned about Grandpa in recent years with his former strokes and his physical ailments. I am only 6 days away from leaving for the States, so I’m missing the funeral by a narrow margin. I know that things are beyond my control in so many situations, including this one, where I don’t get to support my family–especially my mom–during this difficult time, but I can’t help but sigh and ask “why NOT?” I’ve learned much (thankfully) over the years, though, and am accepting this “out-of-my-control” situation pretty well.
My mom wrote me and asked for me to write something about Grandma for the funeral. She mentioned it would help her to feel like I was ‘there.’ Well, I think it also helped me to say ‘good-bye’ from ‘here.’ Being from a younger generation, this eulogy does not do her life justice by a long-shot. I only know what I know about Grandma from my age-limited perspective. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts at random about a lady who was a role model of perseverance and love.
For my Grandma…
What I remember most about Grandma is that she was a great “Grandma.” She was the type of Grandma described in bedtime stories…someone who bakes cookies with you, gives you a shoulder to cry on, gives you no-nonsense advice, helps you with projects, encourages you in your latest endeavor; and even if you find out later that you weren’t really that good at it, you remember that she was still with you every step of the way. And if you were good at it, she came to as many music concerts and sports events as she could. I remember being excited to get to go to Grandma’s house to see family, eat food and have fun. I regret that my kids have not been able to spend as much time with her as I did. To hear the way she said “Marvin!” whenever Grandpa said something inappropriate while the rest of us looked on and giggled. I will miss the way she always had a solution for something gone wrong–The divinity candy won’t firm up? Let’s make a different cookie and just eat all this gooey white stuff with our fingers! You sewed a panel of fabric on inside-out? Well, let me introduce you to the seam ripper and a new roll of thread. And those little lessons applied somehow to the rest of life: if you fall off the horse, just get right back up on it again. And, of course, there were those extra special moments when it was “just the girls” in the back room looking at an old handed-down quilt or Grandma Tatum’s lace or photographs from another generation and listening to Grandma reminisce about times before we were born. It always felt magical back in that quiet room and though I was just a kid, I felt privileged to be included.
Thank you, Grandma, for giving me a treasure-chest of warm, meaningful memories. What more could a grandkid ask for?