Grandma, though I was at your funeral as Pastor Jeremy talked about the nine "fruits of the spirit" and how you "nailed all of 'em;" though I was there when your body was buried in the cemetery under a spray of yellow and orange roses; though I wept as my dad read this poem, and we filed out of the church while listening to "What a Wonderful World" (which you would have loved)...
...your passing feels utterly bizarre and impossible. You don't seem gone—it's only that I haven't visited you lately. I still think of you often, of what you taught me, of how inspired I am by the way you lived your life.
You were so radiantly beautiful, though you never thought so yourself. You'd look in the mirror and fiddle with your hair and scowl at your reflection, then shake the afterimage off like a bad memory. But you were beautiful. So very, very beautiful. Then, and now.
You would always hum when you were happy. I remember you'd hum in the kitchen, not a melody of any kind, but a sort of lilting “dah dum, dah dum." I found myself humming whenever I was around you.
I love how you loved dessert. I never saw you turn it down, often saying something cute like "I've never met a dessert I didn't like." Then you'd talk about your father's bakery, and how you'd sneak handfuls of pecans from the huge bin.
You loved the color yellow with a joyful passion. I'm sure it reminded you of sunshine and flowers and all things bright and happy. I love yellow now, too, because your delight with it was infectious.
"Look at that sky!" you'd say, when you didn't know what else to say. You were constantly on the lookout for the good and the beautiful in every situation. How the world would be a better place if everyone did the same!
In later years especially, you were so adventurous and willing to tag along no matter what the activity!
You also understood that our lives are busy, and you took pains to make sure you were never a burden. And for that and so many other reasons, we flocked to you, charmed, utterly delighted to be in your presence.
Grandma, you'd often tell me about your own grandmother, "Mummy," and how she was the sweetest lady you knew. You'd tell me that I would have loved her, and she would have loved me. Though she was gone before I was born, I feel like I know just how special she was. Because if you are anything like her, she must have been amazing.
When I have kids, I plan to tell them the exact same thing about my grandmother: about how you were the sweetest, most special lady I knew. How they would have loved you, and you would have loved them.
Now, whenever I see a beautiful sky or a yellow flower, or feel the sun in my face or watch a particularly pretty cloud cross the heavens, I give thanks, and know that a part of you is in it, glowing, radiant, loving. In your honor, I'm going to wear yellow from time to time, just because it is so cheerful. I'm going to compliment people sincerely, hum to myself, and point out the beauty of flowers and fall leaves. I'll eat butter pecan ice cream and strawberries mashed with sugar, and remember the sweetest lady, my grandmother.
I love you more than words can say.