Well…this week my family and I lost the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She was an amazing lady. She was one person that you just thought would keep right on trucking through life.
However, she passed on this past Friday and we laid her to rest today. I wrote this eulogy for her. I thought I’d share it here with you all. She meant a lot to me and to my family. And this may show you what kind of lady she was.
How do you highlight any one or even just a few things about a life that has been lived this well? I could talk for days on the memories that this wonderful lady has given me. As I know you could too. I mean it’s really hard to point out stuff when she has touched so many lives in so many ways. I think we can all agree she did it so naturally. It was one thing I admired most about her.
To a couple she was momma, to some she was Granny, others knew her as Josephine, and still some others knew her simply as Jo. And that Arby’s cashier on Beachfront drive in Panama City also knew her…well…she knew that Granny wanted her food and should have had it well before she got it.
But no matter how you knew her, you knew she was special.
I have been lucky enough to know her my entire life. She’s my Granny. And she’s special.
You see what made Granny so likeable is that she believed in what she believed in. She believed her coffee should always be hot, that good credit was better than money, that a car with 100000 miles was no longer any good, and that when the stripe ran in January there was no better time to fish. Just throw on those camouflage overalls, get a stringer and a fishing pole. No better bait to use than a little green jig on weighted hook. She always told you like it was and you knew where she stood. If not, just ask her again because she didn’t mind telling you.
However, don’t tell her she can’t do something because, not only will she do it, she’ll probably do it better than you. I’ve seen this lady slide down a 100′ slide because some thought she was too old. She knew how to fish and fish well. She knew how hunt too. She’s climbed into tree stands that I’ve thought were pretty sketchy looking. She could shoot any deer rifle you put in her hands. Just ask her. Well, except for that 30 off 6 she had. She once unloaded that weapon trying to get a nice buck. Shots were firing off in all directions, the deer didn’t know what to do. It stood there until she was done and then just walked away. As mad as she was for not getting that deer, I bet she was laughing at herself and wondering what John was going to say about it.
She loved nature! She loved to fish, and hunt more than any grandmother I’ve ever known. She just loved to be outdoors all the time. I know that we grandkids, took a many a walk through her fields finding arrowheads and Indian money and learning the difference between a white oak tree and a maple tree. I still don’t know much about the trees, but I really loved those arrowheads. But most importantly those moments.
She had such a way of showing love. Sometimes it was hard love. Get up and suck it up. But most of the time it was soft, caring, with warm hugs. It was easy to feel comfortable with her around. She was a “let the kids, be kids” kind of grandparent. But straighten you up when you got out of line. Just like with her fishing, she knew just the right amount of slack to give you. But she also knew when to set the hook! And believe me, there was no greater fear than the words, “straighten up or you’re about to go get me a switch off the tree to whoop your butt with!” That big weeping willow in her front yard. Man…me and that tree. If I wasn’t getting a switch from it, I was running my big wheel into it.
Now I don’t ever remember having to get a switch, but it was one heck of a threat.
I know that for now there will be an emptiness where my Granny has been. There won’t ever be another like her in my life. However, I believe the void can be helped with something my youngest son Easton told us the other day when we were trying to explain this all to him.
After crying for a bit, he said “she’s not going anywhere. She will still be here. She’s still in our hearts and her spirit will always be with us.”
You see those things that Granny taught us: love, family, strong-will, the outdoors, fishing, hunting, arrowheads, and yes even the difference in the trees. Those are the things that made her who she was. I was taught those things not only by her, but by my mom. And I’ve taught those very things to my children. And because of that, Easton is absolutely right. She will always be here. Her spirit will always be around because of me and you passing along those wonderful things that made her who she was. She survives through us and through them!
Thank you, Granny. I love you!
Have a great cup of coffee today…or two!!