Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Everyone Deserves to be the Subject of Their Own Eulogy"

Today, we buried my great grandma Jo. I heard about her passing on Tuesday afternoon and since then everything has been absolute chaos. Now, I understand why people take time off from work when there's a death in the family. It isn't because we can't handle day to day business as usual, it's because those little set backs that don't matter usually hit you like a wrecking ball right in the chest and compound with your grief.

But it's over now. The shadow of death passed through and now we are left with the echo of it. The funeral was lovely. Or I should say it was a lovely church service. I mean no disrespect to those who spoke, both of them are ministers in the church where I grew up and they are my uncles and they did an amazing job at what they were there to do.

It's just that nothing that was said was really about her. They read her obituary, told us who she was following into death's embrace and who she left behind. And then they talked a lot about heaven and god and the bible. And it was a comfort. I do understand that funerals are for the living, more so than the dead.

My fiance was there with me for moral support. He'd never met her before. He came out of that funeral without knowing a single thing about her, and that, I think, is a real tragedy.

The next time we have a death in the family I am going to ask to speak like I could have this time. My Grandma Jo was a kind woman. She was sassy and she was sharp as a tack. She was the smell of lingering cigarette smoke and a cracked and drawn out voice. She was omni-present wrapped candies in her purse and hugs that were far too tight to expect them to come from a woman her size. She was always a person to do what she wanted to do, no matter what. She lived her life on her own terms.

At the end she was 90 and on oxygen and she smoked like a freighter anyway. She lived alone in a small house in town and took care of herself up until the end. She was fierce and she would not be denied those things that she wanted. Nor should she have been.

She deserved to have something said about her. My sworn sister, Gwen, gave me the title for this blog entry and it's up there, but I'll paraphrase it again because it's an apt one. She deserved to be the subject of her own eulogy.

Grandma, if you're reading this, I admire the hell out of your spirit. Thank you for always being so affectionate with us as kids, for watching us when we didn't have other places to go in the afternoons, for watching Digimon with us even if you didn't always understand it and for bringing me so much cardstock paper. You're probably one of the reasons I ended up a writer and I should have used that to honor you today. I am sorry. I will do better. I love you.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

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