This last week was really exhausting. I went up to play in the snow with my kids last week, which was really fun but physically tiring. On Saturday I went to a memorial for my grandma, who had been ill for over a year, and died earlier this month. She and I hadn’t spoken for a long time, mostly over some hurtful things which were said, but she was still an important part of my childhood and my mother asked me to come to her memorial, so my cousin and I steeled ourselves and went. I expected to get many recriminations for my absence over the last several years, but it seemed important to my mom, and she’s very important to me, so off I went.
I am very glad that we chose to go. The memorial was hard, but I was reminded of the best things my grandma gave to the world. She was a fiesty woman, firm in her convictions. She was a very active member of NOW and a card carrying member of the ACLU. In her 60’s, she took the time to escort girls through the protesters at Planned Parenthood. Mind you, she was a very diminutive person but her steely gaze was certainly enough to daunt even the brawniest of the protesters. At her memorial, the ministers edited the passages from the bible to remove the masculine references to god, in deference to ‘liberal Virginia’.
The gathering afterward was nice, and I got to see many family members I hadn’t seen forever. Nobody made me feel badly about my long absence. My cousin was treated the same as the other grandchildren (her history with our family is complicated)… and most importantly, I think the day came off exactly as my mother had hoped, so it was a successful day in my eyes.
I’m sorry we didn’t always see eye to eye, but her indomitable spirit will live on in the women of her family… in my mother, who is and will continue to be an amazing woman… in me, and in my daughter and her daughters after her. The freedoms and equality she fought for so valiantly will ease our way as we try to make our mark on the world, and for this I thank her with all my heart.
Goodbye grandma… peace be with you.