Yesterday was the two year mass for the passing of my grandmother and my family had a little cookout at my uncle’s house afterwards. My dumb ass, unfortunately, missed it. I’ve been on the weirdest schedule since the beginning of the year and instead of being up and ready to go for the 10:30 a.m. mass (and subsequent cookout), I was just falling asleep.
Come to find out, as my parents told me when they got back home, they did a cool little tribute thing during the cookout. Everyone got one of the roses featured at the top and were given the opportunity to say a couple words on what she gave them, or taught them during her lifetime. And while I am not as good a extemporaneous speaker as I am with a pen, I’m a little sad I missed it. It sounded as if it was a nice experience.
I was sitting in the shower a bit earlier thinking about what I would have said. Here’s what I’ve got:
I wish I would have known her better. That’s all I remember thinking as I walked back to the car. I’d pause every now and then and watch all of you and think about the intimate connections each of you had with her. There were these white flowers everywhere. I loved nan, but I don’t think I ever knew her. That thought still pains me. Obviously she had such a profound impact on everyone here. Right here. In this circle. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a great great grandmother. She was Irish. And she was a person. I really wish I took the chance to get to know the person.
Two things spring to mind as a takeaway from my time with Nana. One thing she taught me – or all of us, honestly – and another is something she gave me. If I learned anything from her it was how to be loyal. There are times in our life when we will hate everyone around us for even the most minute reasons. And all the hate and animosity we can feel for each other in various points of our interactions can be erased if we stay loyal to one another. If I learned anything from her it would be that loyalty, a trait that can go so unrecognized in our society, is the baseline for love. If you have loyalty for someone you can love them – and Bunny, well she had more loyalty than the lot of us combined.
The last little bit, at least to my recollection, is that she and pup bought me my first copy of Huck Finn. I’m a staunch believer that there are little moments in our lives when the actions we take or the things we endure set us down a particular path in the road. I’ve read that book many a time for class after class and I have always felt a special connection to it. I wonder if she knew that the book would have the impact on me that it did – that it would set me off on my own quest of figuring out who I was to become. Maybe she knew.
I’m just glad she didn’t give me a book of math problems.
Before I give up my turn, I want to say something to everyone here. Don’t think of today as a sad day. Don’t drive home with solemn smiles and heavy hearts. Look at the flower. When you think of her, look at the flower. I love the idea of this because it is just the perfect embodiment of how she would want you to carry on. Be open. Stand tall. Stand proud. Be beautiful. She raised all of us – all of us – to be that way. The really cool thing about the flower and the concept of beauty is that while it is an exquisite singular specimen, it takes on a different form when you place all of those flowers together. The strength, the beauty, the way they work as one, it’s overpowering. It’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s us.