Bon Voyage, Grandma



Handsome Husband put me on a plane to Oregon over the weekend– despite the inflated holiday rates, overbooked flights, and weather delays, so I wouldn’t miss Grandma Norah’s funeral. He is my person.

He also logged countless hours crafting a lovely video tribute in her honor for the service, and burned a stack of copies for family members, as a keepsake. He’s my person.

He held down the fort in my absence, entertaining the kiddos with treats and movies and games galore, so they didn’t even miss me. Did I mention Husband is my person?

Here’s what I shared at Grandma’s service:

Grandma Norah was a lot of things to a lot of people: Mother… daughter… sister… aunt… cousin… friend… kooky in-law. 😉

And though most everyone here knew her far longer than my own ((ahem)) 35 years, I believe her five other grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and I, got the very best of her– the role she was most suited for.

A curious composite of eccentric, inquisitive, whimsical, sentimental, stubborn, flamboyant, vivacious, impetuous, blunt, affectionate, and indulgent– though not in the least traditional still an apt makeup for a quirky Grandma.

Childlike herself in many ways, it seems she related better to youngsters than adults. As Grandma, she was liberated from the constraints of parental responsibility; free to dote, to indulge, and to entertain…

To cut our hair on a whim while babysitting, without permission from our parents. To serve up a dinner comprised entirely of candy, without apology. To shirk bedtimes, instead allowing us to watch forbidden music videos on VH1. To permit us to sample several sprays of each of the thirty bottles of perfume atop her bedroom dresser, simultaneously. To sneak us into R-rated films. To remain unfurled when we pillaged her closet like a bottomless dress-up bin. To purposely ring the doorbell during naptime so as to wake the babies for an impromptu visit. To sneak toddlers sips of Coca-Cola when their mother wasn’t looking.

Patient and permissive, she never lost her temper, despite shenanigans including, but not limited to: taking turns spinning in her clothes dryer, mop-skating across her kitchen floor in the spirit of Pippi Longstocking, and rifling through her underwear drawer in search of birthstone rings.

Each year she took us shopping to pick out Easter dresses and Christmas gifts for our parents. She never missed an event and always arrived WAY early. She never said no to a babysitting gig, and she never popped by without some treasure to share from the dollar store, Goodwill, or the recesses of her cupboard. She buttered rolls with bare fingers, rocked pantyhose and pumps with cut-off sweatpants in the garden, was always the first one on the dance floor, and drove like a maniac… but she was our Grandma Norah.

A worthy Scrabble or trivia opponent, she was quick-witted and sharp as a tack until the day she died. A lover of cashmere, manicures, hot baths, People magazines, travel, jewelry, cinema, English tea, juicy celebrity memoirs, tchotchkes, trinkets, tokens, and hair dye; she sometimes embarrassed us in public and positively drove our parents mad… STILL she was OUR Grandma Norah.

She wasn’t perfect, and might’ve had some peculiarities in showing it, but she loved each and every one of you and boasted of THE FAMILY with the ferocious, protective pride of an Italian mob boss.

She leaves behind a legacy of gumption, grit, independent spirit, industriousness, and tenacity, as evidenced in her daughters.

I will miss her dearly.

My mom and aunt pulled off a lovely service that honored her full life. Here’s the slide-show that makes me weep. The first song is one she regularly sang to us when we were little.

with her parents

Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


5 responses to “Bon Voyage, Grandma”

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