Monday, December 9, 2013

A eulogy for Grandma

A LOT has been happening and I really want to get you all up to speed, but my grandmother's passing has been on my mind.  I wanted to share what I wrote for her funeral service...which is happening right as I post this.  

A eulogy for my grandmother, Catherine J. Edmonds
Written by Jennifer Icenogle

I suppose that as her granddaughter my view of her will be biased.  I suppose that though I wasn’t around that much that my perceptions of my grandmother will and can be very different from those who saw her every day.  What I hope to share is what was best in her. Please bear with me as I share my thoughts and remembrances of my grandmother, my grandma.

I remember so many things and much of my early life was spent with my grandmother, at least that is how I remember it.  I realize now that having my own children and listening to how they recount certain events of their lives is quite a bit different to how I recount the same happening.  That doesn’t make one account wrong and one right, or either account false, just different accounts of the same thing.  So, what I remember is spending a lot of time with my Grandpa and Grandma Edmonds while I was young.  It is because of my Grandma that I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. NO ONE made cookies like my grandma.  I mean really, the only cookie worth making is a chocolate chip one. I remember the hours that she spent playing cards with Joe and me.  Go fish, war, old maid…She always had breakfast ready for us when we woke up…a bowl of cereal and juice waiting for us on the small table in her kitchen on Marcy Street.  I remember one time sitting down at the table and telling her that she had put Joe’s spoon on the wrong side of the bowl (I was facing his place setting and didn’t realize that it was correct) she tried to tell me it was on the right side, but I didn’t believe her.  She had me get up and go over to his setting and see that the spoon was indeed on the right side. I also remember sitting on her bed with her and going over the math flash cards that I needed.  I guess what I remember most, was her just taking time with me…time to play and time to teach.  

My grandmother was an amazing housekeeper! She took a lot of pride in her house and her possessions. Everything it seemed was spic and span and perfectly in its place.  I know that it would have been this way right up to when she left it for the last time. When I think of how my house should look or be, the standard I have in my mind is her house.  That’s a mighty tall standard and, honestly, I fall short of it, most times. My grandma would rise early and get her work for the day done before Joe or I would even get up. I remember her letting me help with dishes and using the hand crank egg-beater to make bubbles in the sink.  I wonder now how much “help” I truly was. 

Funny, how I think most of my memories of my grandma revolve around that tiny kitchen on Marcy Street.  From her I got the idea that a woman provided good food for her family, and took care of the house.  Those ideas and ideals seem now to us maybe old fashioned, but that does not make them wrong.  If only more women focused on providing good food for their families and taking care of their homes how much better society would be.  But I’ve digressed.  Memories of roast beef, mashed potatoes and green beans…grandma putting milk in the ketchup bottle to get out that last little bit. J Memories of her making Crazy cake for my grandpa and sometimes she could get the brown sugar frosting on it before he ate it … and sometimes not.

She was my grandma, but growing up in Ottawa and going to McKinley school, I learned that she was “Grandma” to hundreds of others as well.  You see she worked in the kitchen at McKinley elementary school, and everyone called her grandma.  I remember being in Kmart with her and having other kids that we would see call her Grandma.  I shared her with so many others.

When I began to understand the power and importance of our thoughts and that we could change the way we think from being negative to positive I used the memory of my grandma’s kitchen to bring me peace and calm.  It was the memory of a pleasant spring morning. I could see the trees budding out the window over her sink. There was a copper clock to the left of the sink on the cupboard. The kitchen itself would be immaculate. The kitchen would be warm but not overly so, and of course there was the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.  When I get scared (and yes, we do still get that way don’t we? ... even as we grow older) this is the memory I choose to go back to in my mind to calm myself and evoke peaceful emotions.

And though all of these memories are pleasant and lovely, I think the best thing my grandma was able to do for me was imprint the truth that there is a God, and that there is such a thing as good and bad, right and wrong. Many a night I remember saying the simple prayer…”Now I lay me down to sleep” and then as I grew, the Lord’s Prayer. I remember her showing me a snake that was on the porch and telling me of the Devil.  These things that I am sure seemed like little things then have had a HUGE impact on what I do this very day and where I am now.   Maybe you don’t know that I am a missionary; that I live in Ghana, West Africa; and that I serve the only living and true God.  Her gentle guidance is what led me on my path to seek truth and mainly to seek the truth found in God’s Holy Word. 

I am very thankful that Grandma asked me to do her eulogy.  I am thankful that I got to share much of these things with her quite a few years ago.  I am thankful for the truth found in God’s word. Here is some of that truth that I have been thinking about  “… the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. It is better to got to a house of mourning that to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy. The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.”  (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4) What wise King Solomon is trying to communicate to us in this passage is that mourning is good because it is then that we contemplate our eternities.  You see, when someone dies we are forced to think of these things and we, the living, take it to heart.  Most of the time we can distract ourselves with the busyness of our lives and not think about death.  It is why we are often in the house of pleasure as those verses speak of, so we don’t have to think about death and the judgment and consequences of the choices we make. Later in the same book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, “Remember Him [God] before the silver cord is broken”, that silver cord is your life.  God wants you to remember Him before you die.  And a few verses after this the Bible tells us why He wants us to remember Him… “He [God] will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”  He wants us to remember that He is who He is… and not who we may think Him to be… He wants us to love and obey Him.  Please… please take this time to consider your eternity, because I know that my Grandma would want you to consider it now, as she herself sees things now, from the other side of death’s face.  Nothing is more important than what takes place when we die - when we enter eternity. 
Thank you.

Now, if you have stuck with me to the end...way to go!!  There is really only one more thing i'd like to add, and that is if you have any questions about your eternity...i'd love to discuss that with you.  Please contact me.   My love to all!