Death is the most final of topics. Slightly less scary to consider than giving a presentation to a room full of people.
Speaking of which, my brother Tony wrote and delivered the Eulogy for my sweet, stubborn Grammie Orser Sunday. He’s a writer and a good preacher too, who knew?
Anyhoo. Grammie was 97. God wanted her home earlier but she digressed to acquiesce to His request.
I guess she figured her prayers would do more good this side of the veil. And pray she did. She could often be heard pacing her small house restlessly, praying ceaselessly for her family. She was a sweet, sincere woman who held an iron will behind her soft eyes. I loved her very much.
I inherited my sweet tooth from her, and my love of debates. There was nothing like a good back and forth about the necessity of water baptism, or whether cremation barred you from rising in the Rapture. For the record, I said no, Grammie said a definite maybe and why risk it…I responded with ‘ew’ and If God can raise the dead He can surely put my ashes together.
She didn’t always agree with how I dressed, or cut my hair, or if Yoga was really from the Devil. But she always loved me. First, last, through the middle of her admonitions, she always, always said she loved me and was praying for me. We could always agree I needed more prayer. I will miss Grammie so much, and will miss those prayers too.
From everything I’ve seen, learned and experienced in my life I have come to the conclusion that we don’t really die, we merely change form. I am as sure of this as I am about anything that can’t be proven in court or measured in a beaker. Of course we can’t know anything for sure after the Big Plunge happens but if nothing in this world really disappears, only changes form than I suspect that we humans, being part of this natural world, will do the same. Grammie isn’t a block of ice anymore she’s a small body of water that could be raining on us shortly. So to speak. She’s doing some fancy moves on her Sea-Doo in heaven for sure.
An exercise I always thought particularly helpful in my quest to be better today than I was yesterday, is to imagine what people may say of you at your funeral. And then imagine what they would REALLY say. Then try to live my life to align with the fantasy and not the Reality Right Now. I don’t do this like, every Friday night for fun or anything. I’m not quite that morbid. I did it for the first time when I took a course at work, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Cliche, maybe, but it does tend to put things in perspective. Lord knows how many of us could use a dose of ‘perspective’. Myself included.
Anyhoo. Grammie was not just a person to me, or a grandmother, she was like an institution. Some sort of national monument that would be around forever. I haven’t quite grasped that my world is different now.
I’ve never known a time in my 36 years when she wasn’t around, baking rolls, grumbling about the length of skirts, reading her bible, eating her toast and jam. Looking for her teeth, her glasses, her comb.
She isn’t really gone though, not really. Every time I see a piano, or eat white cake with chocolate frosting, or hear someone singing a hymn sincerely but slightly off key, I’ll remember her. No more debates down here Grammie, but looking forward to discussing whether or not purgatory exists and for whom it exists at a later time.
It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, what matters is the people we question these things with, and the time we took to explore these things together. I wish everyone had someone they could talk to about the deeper questions of life, the important ones that don’t have solid answers. If we all had someone like Grammie to talk to, the world would be a better place, even if no one agreed with anyone in the end.