I Want Them To Remember Their Great Grandmother
I remember growing up that I had very few great-grandparents. Thinking back on this now, I had three that were living at least until I was about eight years old. As I get older, I can reflect on these times and still have memories of these individuals and faint recollections of who they were, what they liked, and how they treated me.
My daughters only had one great grandmother, as all of their other great grandparents had passed on before they were born. Luckily, their great-grandmother was someone that they were able to speak with frequently and see at least once or twice a year. She lived until she was 90, and passed on December 18, 2014.
Since her passing, we have been planning a memorial service that will occur on April 12, 2015 in the town that she grew up in, Silver Creek, New York. My kids have never been to Silver Creek but their great-grandmother’s sister still lives in the home that she grew up in and I hope that we can have some time to be able to show my girls this house and let them hear from their great aunt some of the stories that she can still share.
I want my daughters to remember their great-grandmother. I want to share her story is that I have with them, and I want them to remember her for the time that they had, but also the life that she lived. I know that my oldest will remember her great-grandmother as she had more time with her. I do worry at times that my youngest, who is only seven, will start to have less memory of her as she gets older.
As a photographer I am happy that I took many pictures of my girls with their great-grandmother, as I do not have many pictures of myself with my own great-grandparents. Looking back on this now, I think this is a gift that all parents can and should share with their kids if they can.
As my kids get older I hope to be able to share with them the research that their mother and I have done on our own family histories. J-Mom and I have spent a lot of time over the years using online search engines as well as genealogical libraries and more to gain better insight seemed to where we came from and the stories of the families that came before us. We have a lot more research to do, but history is important and we want to share this with our own kids.
As I get ready to say goodbye to my Grandmother, I had been asked to write a Eulogy that I will give at her memorial. Below is what I wrote. I hope that this will let you get to know her a bit more and that her memory will live on forever in the minds of all of you, her friends and her family.
Pep, Jo, Josephine or how my wife, I, and my daughters knew her, Nana. My grandmother was a woman of faith, love and strong convictions, and one of the strongest women I knew. She was passionate about her family and anyone that ever went into her home would see her pictures that adorned her refrigerator, her walls or other places throughout her home. It always brightened her day and put a smile on her face to stay connected with all of you. After her passing, we found this book (Hold up the book) that was her daily prayer book. Inside the book we found not only pages and pages of prayers and devotions that were important to her, but also, we found notations on every day of family birthdays, deaths and so much more. Whether you all knew it or not, she was always praying and hoping for the best for all of her friends and family.
She was a devout Catholic and this spirituality filled her entire life. She knew that her God was with her and that Angels were all around us. She drew on this faith throughout her life to get her through both good and challenging situations. She prayed diligently for family and friends. She had both small and large devotionals that were dog-eared and we know how well-used the many rosaries were that she had throughout her home, and you could always depend that she would have at least one with her whether she was sitting in her apartment or walking through her neighborhood.
While my grandmother did not have an easy life, she never complained. I can honestly say that I never heard her say a mean word and though I know that there were probably those who could have used a tongue lashing from her, it never came (unless it came through prayer).
She was the mother to two amazing ladies, my mother Rosemary and my Aunt, Cathy. She was my grandmother and the great-grandmother to Juliana and Paige. She loved to tell us and others how proud she was of our accomplishments and how much she loved us. A great example of this was in her most recent trip to visit us in Michigan, she cherished the time she had with her great-granddaughters, and whether she was coloring, walking hand-in-hand with them or talking, the end of the visit would always conclude with an “I Love You.” Outside of immediate family, she was always thinking of all of you, her extended family and friends. I know so many of you have favorite Aunt Pep stories, and though we do not have time during the service now, I hope that during the luncheon this afternoon that all of you will share these with all of us.
My grandmother lived very frugally. She washed plastic bags, straightened aluminum foil, re-constituted leftovers, visited resale shops among other things. I was always in awe at how she lived on her meager social security allowance. However, even though this was the case, she was SO generous with her gifts, whether she baked her delicious breads or carrot cake (my personal favorite) or purchased something for that special family or friend.
She had a funny way of rolling her eyes, pursing her lips and shaking her head if she didn’t like what you said. She wouldn’t say a word, but you knew she was disappointed.
My grandmother was a hard worker all of her life. She prayed hard, she loved with all her heart, soul, body and mind and I am sure that all of you were recipients of this throughout your life whether you knew it or not.
We all are saddened by the loss of this wonderful woman, but in our hearts we know that she has gone home to her God and is now with all of the friends, family and other loved ones that went before her, and we know that we will see her again. I’m sure that God is celebrating her return to his loving arms. I’m sure that she is making things ready for all who come in the future.
She will definitely have the carrot cake ready, the sauce simmering and coffee ready (with hazelnut flavoring of course).
I want to close today with a prayer that was prayed at All Saints Day: “They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scathing heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Also, for any of you that love Carrot Cake, I will share with you my Grandmothers’ Amazing Carrot Cake Recipe!
NANA’S CARROT CAKE RECIPE
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. bakng powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
Put the above ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to stir ingredients together.
- 2 c. sugar ( Nana wrote she used 1 3/4 cups of sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups salad oil
- 4 eggs beaten
Mix in a bowl and ADD:
- 2 cups finely grated raw carrots
- 1 – 8 1/2 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in small amounts and mix thoroughly together.
Pour into 3, 9 inch round layer cake pans that have been sprayed and floured lightly.
Bake 350 degrees, 35 – 40 minutes (check to make sure the center is cooked)
Remove from oven, cool
Frost with cream cheese frosting
NANA’S CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1- 8 oz, cream cheese
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix these ingredients well, then add:
1 lb. confectionery sugar, beat well . If too thick add a little milk
How have you as parents helped your own kids remember loved ones that have passed?