About two years ago my grandmother passed away. It was not a surprise she had been going down the path at the end of her life for quite some time. We used to go out to breakfast with her and my grandfather every weekend, my family and I. One week she wasn’t well enough to come, nor the week after that. We would visit her every week; my grandpa would visit everyday. Week after week her eyes would be just a little less bright. Week after week she took another step down that final path. Eventually she had to be moved into a nursing home. We didn’t go on anymore walks after that. One day she just did not wake up. This didn’t come as a surprise, it wasn’t shocking or sudden. Simply it was her time to go; the sun had finally set on her journey. In passing she was able to do one last thing.
Over the next couple days, all my aunts, uncles, and cousins, daughters, sons, and grandchildren came to my grandpa’s house. On the day of the funeral we all wore buttons celebrating her; mine said, “Kiss me I’m Irish”. As we all gathered we realized that she would not want to be remembered in death, not like the final years of her life, but the way she lived her life. We all laughed that day at the funeral, not a sad laugh, but we laughed about what we remembered in her life. She was not a shy person; she was as wild as they come. I learned more about whom my grandma really was that night then I would ever remember from the short part of her life I was alive for. How she would hop in a convertible with my uncle, her son-in-law, and love every minute of it. She was always the life of a party, and even in death she still was. No one told a sad story that day, everyone just reminisced about the great times they had had with my grandma. Every story ended happy, every story was just another page in her glorious life.
Her final act of death was not a burden or a devastating blow. It brought the whole family together, and we were sad of course but in remembering her it was only possible to do it with a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart. She made me believe that it’s not how you die, or when you die, or how long you lived that makes a difference. The things that really make a difference at the end of your life are how you lived. Even in death we found humor, being able to laugh at death, not in jest, but in love. This led me to believe that even in death you can bring joy to those who loved you.
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