I am exhausted.
I’m leaving for Norway very, very early tomorrow morning. I slept very, very poorly last night and I won’t get much sleep tonight, so it’s going to be a very, very rough Saturday morning.
Grandma Hamm passed away yesterday morning.
As excited as I am to go on this trip, I am going with a heavy heart. The funeral is Tuesday, and I will miss it. My family and I talked about this possibility awhile ago, so we were prepared. However, it doesn’t make it any easier.
Tonight I’ll head home to Rosthern, where my family and I will have a private viewing of Grandma. My family suggested that I write a little something that could be read at the funeral since I won’t be there. I have and I plan to read it tonight so that I have some sense of closure.
I don’t really feel sorry for myself. It’s sad and it sucks, but the person I feel the saddest for is my Dad. Both of his parents are now gone, and I can only imagine the huge hole that must exist in his heart right now.
So as a tribute to Grandma, and to help with my own grieving process, here is what I would like read at the funeral on my behalf.
I am sad that I am not there with you today to celebrate your life. I very much wanted to play the piano and sing for you one last time, but I think you know my voice well enough to imagine what it would sound like.
I have many memories of you, Grandma. I know that I was very special to you. I was your first grandchild, and I know you spoiled me because of that. I remember the ‘treat’ drawer you had in your old house in Rosthern. It was the second drawer from the bottom of the dining room cabinet. There was always a bag of chips in there for me, of my favourite flavour – Sour Cream ‘n’ Onion. Your house was always full of treats! At Christmas time, the entire coffee table in the living room would be filled with goodies. At Halloween, you’d give us brown paper lunch bags full of candy.
I remember the many sleepovers I had at your house. We would usually walk through the back alleys to Main Street, and we’d have supper at King’s or the Golden Sheaf. We’d play games in the evening, and Yahtzee was always one of them. I remember falling asleep to the sound of you and Grandpa snoring in unison. But I must admit that I usually had a hard time falling asleep – your house was usually much too warm for me! And I remember getting up early with you for breakfast. You and I and Grandpa would sit around the kitchen island and eat our cereal. You would have your ‘Daily Bread’ devotional book with you and you’d start your day by talking to God.
As a child, my favourite times with you were those that you and I and Grandpa spent in the old house in his den, singing. I would play the piano, Grandpa his guitar, and we’d sing. I even remember you recording one of our sing-along’s on a cassette tape. When I came to visit, you would get out your old Reader’s Digest piano book and I would play away. Every once in awhile a new piano book would appear, filled with old songs I didn’t know, but learned to love. ‘Harvest Moon’ was our favourite.
As I grew older, music became the foundation of our relationship. I accompanied you and Grandpa to the Barn Playhouse on many occasions. You and I would listen to him and the Silvertones play. You and Grandpa would come to the Music Festival to hear me sing. I remember the night I performed my first German song. You were so proud! Later on I began to play at the Lutheran church on Sunday mornings from time to time. You’d always make sure you were there when you knew I’d be playing. After the service, you’d come up front and sit on the front pew while I finished the postlude. Then you’d ask me out for lunch.
These are only a few of the memories I have of our time together. There are so many more, so many good memories. Thank you for them.
Grandma, I will miss your strong spirit. I am very fortunate to have so many strong women in my life as role models, and you were one of them. You had to be to handle Grandpa! All kidding aside, I always admired your steadfastness, quiet confidence, resoluteness, strength, and that competitive spirit that would sneak out every once in awhile. Some would just call you plain stubborn, and yes, you could definitely be stubborn, but you were so because of an underlying determination. You wanted certain things and you went after them. You always wanted to make up your own mind and not have it made for you. You wanted to live life on your terms, and I think you were more than successful in doing so.
But Grandma, as much as I loved your strength and will miss it, what I will miss even more are those moments when you let your guard down. I will miss how tight you hugged me all those times I came to visit you. I will miss seeing the tears you sometimes shed when I’d leave. I will miss how when you held my hand, you caressed my fingers as if you were trying to make sure that you would remember how they felt. I will miss your smile, your laugh and that sparkle in your eyes that I saw when I knew that you were proud of me. I will miss these moments the most, Grandma, because it was in these moments that I felt how very much you loved me. I could tell that I meant the world to you and that I was so special and so precious.
Grandma, thank you for loving me. I will miss you, but I will remember you and love you always.