“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.” – Antonio Porch
We may not spend our time consciously trying to live a life worth remembering, but I imagine many of us would like to mean enough to someone that we become a memory. A good memory.
I think the people who become the best memories never really give it much thought at all. They’re too busy living their lives and impacting ours by being themselves.
My best friend’s grandmother passed away recently. She was 99 and then some. A real Spitfire. The sort of woman who reminded me a great deal of my own grandmother.
I wasn’t able to attend her memorial service, but my friend was asked to say a few words. He hadn’t prepared anything, but as is his way he rose to the occasion and delivered a very thoughtful and sincere eulogy. He was later asked to write down what he had said for a few members of the family who weren’t there and he shared his words with me this past weekend.
I’d like to share what he wrote here in tribute to his grandmother especially, but also in tribute to him.
I am a rich man. Perhaps not measured in the way that others may measure it with money or fame, but rich in memories.
Our grandma was an enormous part of all of these memories that we treasure so. Saturday night dinners, that I always looked forward to and quickly came to treasure. There may have been a few squabbles now and then, (pause), okay a lot of squabbles, but in the end, it was always good.
I especially looked forward to the best Thanksgiving dinners in the world.
Grandma always did an awesome job and the time spent with family was priceless. Something that I appreciated more and more as my life moved along.
I am very thankful that my last memory of Grandma was a wonderful one. A short time ago, I was able to visit my Grandma with my entire family. Grandma was very sharp and remembered everyone and even exchanged jabs with me (which my wife, Amy, thought was hilarious).
A day or two later, I was told that Grandma had taken a turn for the worse and didn’t have much time left and there was nothing more that could be done. This gave me a few days to reflect upon a long and wonderful life.
During the summer, I will frequently wake up as the sun comes up and I will go play golf before anyone else arrives at the course.
I will play the back nine holes of the golf course, as it is the most isolated. This gives me the time and peace to be alone with my thoughts and prayers.
I spent this time walking alone through the fog and dew thinking about my Grandmother. (One good thing about playing in the fog, I can hit the ball out of site!)
Anyways, as I thought about her life, I realized that she passed on a tremendous gift to us all.
She taught us how to live life.
Not with words, but more powerfully, with her actions. Grandma had a generous spirit and an unflappable, courageous approach to the trials and tribulations of life. I never heard her complain. She enjoyed that which should be enjoyed and endured with courage what could not, all without complaint.
As I arrived at the fifteenth hole, (the fifth of the morning), I hit a tee shot that disappeared to the right, over a creek and into some trees. I suspected that I would not find that golf ball, so following the rules of golf, I hit another tee shot and added a penalty shot.
(You may be wondering what the point of this story is and why I am rambling, but be aware that I learned my story telling from my Grandfather, so you may be here awhile).
As I left the tee box, my phone rang. I knew without answering that Grandma had passed away. I sat down on the bridge crossing the creek and cried.
Eventually, I stood up and brushed myself off. I continued on to the second ball that I had hit thinking about Grandma’s life and how golf is a microcosm of life, some good, some bad, some lucky, and some not. I thought about Grandma’s life and how she lived it. I hit the next shot well and onto the green. I then made a lengthy putt for a bogey. In golf, a bogey is no great score, BUT it was the very best I could do.
Sometimes in life, things don’t always go as you would like, but whining and complaining will do nothing to help. The best you can do is to live this life with courage and dignity. Grandma taught me this most important of lessons.
Heaven is an enchanted place. I know this to be true.
Grandma lived a long, wonderful life of 99+ years. Now she is in heaven with Grandpa, who had to wait ten years for her to arrive. Now don’t you think that Grandpa probably has saved up a lot of things to tell her? Remember, heaven is perfect. There is no more sickness and illness, no more aches and pains, and no more cares and worries that we wear around ourselves like a cloak. No more infirmities.
Grandma has perfect hearing now!
I have to smile because I can envision Grandpa talking at her and Grandma can’t reach up to her ear with that pleasant look on her face and quietly and discreetly, turn her hearing aid down.
Somehow though, I am pretty sure that Grandma doesn’t mind. She is where she wants to be and needs to be; with Grandpa.
We will miss you, but you will always be in our hearts.