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F is for Family

photo lifted from my Aunt Nancy’s Facebook feed

The most unexpected thing about my Granddad’s memorial service/celebration of life/[insert ostensibly uplifting euphemism for “funeral” of your choice here] was that it really was uplifting.

Granddad is the first Important Person in my life who has died. I’m 32 years old, and I realize exactly how unbelievable that is. I didn’t know what to expect from the experience of celebrating his memory, and I haven’t really known what to say about it. It feels wrong, somehow, to say this, but… I found the whole thing pretty amazing and wonderful. It was incredible to meet so many people who said, “your Granddad was one of my favorite people.” It was surprisingly fun having my entire extended family in one place, for the expressed purpose of spending time together. I’m the farthest away by a wide margin, and have been for fourteen years. It’s amazing how much we’ve all changed (and stayed the same) during that time. It’s especially gratifying spending time with all of my cousins. We’ve all turned out, in my humble opinion, to be pretty cool people.

After the service, we gathered out in front of the church. My Grandmom and Granddad attended this church for decades. It was a beautiful day. The dogwoods were blooming, the humidity hadn’t yet reached sauna levels, and there was a soft breeze. My parents, aunts, and uncles had compiled a selection of photographs for the post-service visitation. One of them was a family portrait that was taken about 10-12 years ago, and which hung in my grandparents’ various homes until only a few months ago. We gathered ourselves on the steps in the same configuration, recruited a passerby to wield the camera, and took this photo. I love it. He would have loved it. He would have loved the entire celebration.

We aren’t all the first man on the moon, we don’t all invent penicillin or write a piece of music that anyone can recognize by ear. But we can all leave the world a better place than it was when we entered it. My grandparents were (and are) amazing people, who touched an untold number of lives over the years. And they left us behind to carry on their legacy. I’m so glad to be a part of it all.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • sizzle April 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

    As sad of an occasion it was, I’m glad you could be altogether. It somehow makes a person feel less alone in their grief.

  • heidikins April 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    “It’s amazing how much we’ve all changed (and stayed the same)…” I love this. I feel this way about my extended family as well. We are spread from Hawaii to Alaska to New York to Florida and I doubt we’ll ever all be in one place again. But when i do get to catch up with a few of them I always love how much THE SAME there is in our relationships.

    Beautiful post, my dear.


  • kris April 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    So so gorgeous. Loving that last paragraph, too. What a delicious life it is. So glad he lived his that way, and your family too. Thanks for your lovely note, my dear. Don’t ever apologize for the long comments. 🙂

  • Aunt Kathy May 8, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Oh what a delightful surprise F was for me today! You have such a lovely way with words and an uncanny ability to express what’s in my heart.

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