Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Never underestimate the power of Methodist Women

I can't say "Thank You" enough. Everyone who commented and/or thought about me this past weekend -- thank you, thank you, thank you. You all warmed me up with your support and made everything easier to deal with. My mom read the blog and all your responses, and she wants to include my post & your comments in a tribute book / compilation / thingie for the whole family. She thought what you all said was very nice. So did I. (Especially Jau, who I hope will actually go for an annual exam -- your family [including your internet family] wants you to be healthy!)

[Please indulge me as I talk little of knitting but lots of Grandma for a bit here]
[it's a bit on the fragmenty side, and lacks new pictures because my camera is acting like a jerk]
[Edited to add: Thanks to my youngest sister, I have a new picture of the visitation's centerpiece. Just to break up my wordiness. And because I finally realized I have a camera on my phone, there is a new picture at the end, too.]

The visitation for Gram was on Sunday, and my sister, Mom and aunt had pasted copies of pictures onto posterboard for the occasion. They decided to cremate Gram (no instructions from her beforehand), so there wasn't a traditional viewing, and it was nice to have three big posterboards of pictures. Some pictures no one had seen before, and some I'm sure my cousins and I wish hadn't been included (man, there were some interesting fashion choices in the early 90s). But family was her life, so it was appropriate that all the pictures were there.

We also had two of her (many, many) completed afghans laid about the room, and one unfinished project at the table in the center of the floral arrangements. That one made me cry.

When the 4-hour visitation got too much, I retreated to the family room and dug out my knitting, a sock which I began on Saturday (yarn here, scroll down) (pictures later, after I figure out what is making my camera act like a big jerk). It was nice to knit for a bit, chat with some cousins I don't get to see very often, then go back to visiting with the guests. And there were a lot of guests.

Gram was so active in the church, even when she couldn't get out of bed. I heard so many people remembering her work at the church bazaars, or teaching Sunday School and bringing the baby twins in a washbasket so she could keep them near her, or sending birthday / get well / anniversary cards to members of the church (the "Sunshine Ministry"). She took care of everyone, and everyone there had good memories of her.

I also heard, several times, about how much she enjoyed going to my wedding, and how lovely a time she had, and how nice everyone was to her, and how she liked the flowers I sent (my boquet & 3 of the bridesmaids' boquets went to her).

The funeral was Monday, and was in the Methodist Church where my parents got married and in which I grew up. It was built in 1830-something (maybe? yes?) and it was amazing to be back there. I sat in the pew where my Grandma sat every Sunday. I would sit with her sometimes and scribble on the bulletin or doze against her side.

Somehow, we sang ALL SIX VERSES of "O Come All Ye Faithful" at the funeral, because we are Methodists and we are nothing if not thorough. And we sang some other hymn, which I don't remember, and then the pianist, who was my piano teacher and is Mom's good friend, played her rendition of "Amazing Grace" which is all very jazzy and gospel and swingy and really perked me right up. Well, in the sense that I enjoyed that musical selection. (I didn't think it could be done, but "O Come All Ye Faithful" sounded exactly like dirge.)

Then we went downstairs to the church basement and (if you're a Methodist, I bet you know what's coming) ate a lot of food. The ladies of the church put on a huge spread for everyone, and sent food home with the family. They just did everything. They are amazing.

So was my Gram, who just did everything for her family, blood-family and church-family.

Oh, and it turns out that Gram left three afghan projects unfinished. My sister is going to finish one ripple afghan (it's for her boyfriend), my Aunt Pat is taking the granny square project, and I've got the odds-and-ends ripple afghan. I will show it off here as soon as the camera's working.

A visual representation of my inheritance.

At least the camera on my phone is working.


Alison said...

The visitation sounds like it was a lovely way to remember your grandma. After my maternal grandmother passed away, we basically had an Irish wake in her kitchen. Part of the evening was spent arguing about whether she would have had fun if she was there, or whether she would have yelled at us to get out of her house and stop being so rowdy. She could go either way. :)

Kimberly in Washington said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. How great that your grandmothers legacy to you is the comfort of craft. I remember at my Nana's passing diving right into reading just as she always did. Her legacy to me - cooking books. The funny part of that is that she was a horrible cook but she LOVED reading about food. Wishing you and yours continued comfort.

SheCrochets said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like the memorial was everything a person would want it to be; full of good memories, family, and love.

When my husband's grandmother passed away last January, I inherited a large portion of her yarn stash. I have yet to use it because I want to find the perfect project for it... it is wonderful that you have an afghan to help you remember and celebrate your grandmother. Crazy how this craft helps us connect with our families, huh?

Mindy said...

Sounds like a lovely memorial. I understand what you mean about methodist and eating. When my aunt passed away, we had enough food to feed a small army. All of it homemade and delicious.

femiknitter said...

I agree what everyone has has said--the visitation sounds lovely. It seems that it really honored who your grandmother was. Your inheritance is beautiful--what a wonderful way to be tied to family--via crafts. I hope you're doing okay.

Lisa said...

I just wanted to say that the picture of you and your Gram on this post was just beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. There is so much love there, and the love is there still, so much love that it could encompass the earth.

I am sorry for your loss, but I know your Gram smiles and welcomes your love into her soul.