I hope I never have to give a talk like this again...

Recently, my Grandmother, and last surviving grandparent, passed away in Hawaii. I was very close to her as a child growing up in Hawaii and I loved her dearly. I returned home for the memorial service and my family somewhat surprised me by asking me to deliver the eulogy! I wasn't even really sure what was supposed to be in a eulogy, as I've been fortunate to have attended only one funeral before hers - that of my grandfather over 20 years ago.

 

I looked it up in the trusty wikipedia and found it simply meant "Good Words." It was praise of someone's life. That was easy enough for me to do. To do it without crying through the whole thing was the hard part. I am an experienced public speaker and that does not scare me. I don't often get nervous anymore. I got pretty nervous. It was the hardest, and most rewarding, talk I've ever given. 

 

My grandmother was an amazingly loving woman. She was patient, kind, creative (an artist and book lover), and she spoke her mind - without ever being offensive. She just told you what she thought and you usually realized she was right. She lived to be 88 yrs. old. Her mom, my great grandmother, lived to be 108 and was celebrated in Hawaii as one of it's oldest residents on record.

 

Preparing the eulogy was an eye-opener for me. I started to think about all the lessons I've learned from her and how they have impacted my life. It's wild to think back and connect the dots between all the little things someone has impressed upon you and how that molded who you are today.  I recalled stories from her life - things that she told us about herself and things we remembered about her. Everything she did, it would seem, was a valuable life lesson. At the end of my eulogy, I summarized with a list of things I learned from gramma:

 

1) Be nice to everyone.
2) Exercise, take care of your body, and eat well.
3) Take time to smell the roses.
4) Say what you think.
5) Stand up for what you believe in, even if you're the only one standing.
6) Always keep learning.
7) Share what you know with others.
8) Sing, even if you can't sing very well.

 

My sister, Kecia, gave a short dedication after I did and she said something very profound. When she started to think about things to say at Gramma's memorial, she wondered what people would say at her memorial. How would she be remembered. 

 

For me, it was very poignant and yet so simple. I will keep this list with me always to honor the lessons Gramma herself lived & breathed. I love you gramma.