I got off the plane, my uncle pulled up and ushered for me to get in. He was talking to a funeral director on the phone. My grandmother had passed away. I was flying into to see her, and spend some time, and she passed away that very same day. My Uncle got off his phone, handed it to me and asked me to read the eulogy out loud to him as he drove. I read it, all the while thinking, wow this is so well done. The details of her life so specific, her interests so spot on, and I learned some details about her that I hadn't known before. I asked him who wrote it, and he responded, my Nan. She wrote it, and so the journey began. A lot of us don't want to think about death, especially our own, but I learned something from my beloved Nan in her passing - she left us a final gift. My Nan was a month shy of 96, and she passed peacefully. I am in deepest gratitude for this, and yet the fog of a loved one passing is no less. It leaves you in a state of confusion, that something is not quite right, it's all a mistake and when you wake up tomorrow she will be there. But she wasn't, and there were logistics to tend to. And, as we followed the treasure map of her memorial my grandmother left in her passing I was blown away at the gift that was bestowed on the family. She was a planner. My grandmother wrote her own eulogy, she had given away most her stuff, she had sold her house, her camper, her car. She had picked the priest, she had picked the church, she had picked the cemetery, picked were donations go, had a flower lady, bought the grave plots, the grave stone, and the casket. Needless to say, I think she was ready. I sat with Father Jim, the man she requested to do her mass and I understood why - we laughed and cried as he told stories about her, stories I had never heard. At the viewings I stared at her pink embroidered casket. It made me smile as tears streamed down my face, my grandmother loved pink. It was like being invited to a life celebration for my grandmother, thrown by my grandmother - and I can't tell you how incredibly thoughtful that felt. In my mourning I could barely remember my name - I can't imagine trying to pick out a casket or trying to find the right person to say her services. This is not to say my mother and my uncles didn't do much, they did everything. Yet, it was following my Nan's guiding. I am so grateful for that. It was her last gift to us, the final act of generosity ensuring her life party was the way it should be, and that her loved ones were cared for in the process.
|Photo by Juliia Nardin|
from "Coriolanus: Fight like a Bitch"