Friday, February 21, 2014

What an obituary can't say. . .

Four generations. We are lucky, lucky people.
It can't tell the world how much you are loved or how much you will be missed.  Newspaper readers won't know how you taught me to bake cinnamon rolls, waiting for the big tupperware lid to pop, or how you usually served them when we got together.  They won't know that mom kept a few Bud Lights around for when you visited or how vicious a hand of "May I" can get when the family played late into the night.

It can list the names of your children and even your grandchildren, but strangers won't know how fiercely you loved us all.  And how, in the families that your children and grandchildren created or built over the years, you loved all of us all equally and deeply.  And it can't tell anyone how you always had something to serve us when we stopped by, especially sweets for the kids.

It won't whisper the secrets of your love for your husband but we know what we saw: a woman dedicated to her marriage and family through good years and bad. It definitely won't tell anyone that you sewed over your finger when I was 8 and learning to sew in your living room one summer, or how you put your finger in your mouth and said "It happens" and moved on.

And the word limit will keep us from telling the story of your months-long travel to visit everyone after Grandpa died.  How you stayed at his side in his last days and when he was gone, didn't melt into a shell of yourself but went a goodwill tour of the United States to see the people you loved.

Finally, because I'm stopped by the limitations of time, not a lack of things to say: there is no way for us to say in your obituary that you are here.  That your smile is woven into the fabric of each of us and your eyes shine on through your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.  That we all aspire to your strength and subtlety.  That we will do everything we can to live the lives you helped give us in a way that honors you and inspires others.

I love you, Grandma.

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