A eulogy doesn’t have to be long and detailed to be intimate and telling. Often a few simple anecdotes or vividly described images can adequately illustrate the love you have for someone you’ve lost, and serve to comfort those in attendance who share similar memories of and a fondness for your loved one.
If Grandma DeHay’s passing has taught me anything, it’s that I need a signature dish. I’ve come to believe that a life well lived is one in which people request something special from you at every family get-together. For Gerry DeHay, that special something was her potato salad. No graduation, confirmation or anniversary celebration was complete until Grandma had arrived with her signature dish, the egg slices delicately placed around the rim of the bowl.
It’s not that potato salad is terribly difficult to make; it’s just that she made it with such love, such care, that it just tasted better.
When all is said and done – at the end of the day, at the end of a life – it’s the little things that add up to the person you are. For Grandma, there were many little things. A quiet woman, she never commanded attention; she didn’t need to. For her grandchildren, there was always plenty of love and affection. You couldn’t walk into her kitchen without being given a Nutter Butter from the cookie jar, while Lefty, the dog, looked on with envy.
Grandma was always a lady, but she never was afraid of hard work or good fun. A camping enthusiast, you’d find this family matriarch tubing down the Schroon River with the rest of us. Her sweet giggle could melt your heart, just as her sewing prowess could astound you.
One special memory of Grandma I will always hold dear is the day she and I spent at her kitchen table making crafty Christmas ornaments. I was enamored that day with her – not just because she let me use a glue gun, or because I realized how talented she was – but because she took a timid, insecure little girl and made her believe she could create something beautiful.
I hang two of those ornaments – orange yarn and all – on my Christmas tree every year, and I think of Grandma.
A grandmother’s love, a most precious gift, is what she gave to all seven of her grandchildren. And for that, we are eternally grateful.
The angels no doubt are happy today, for one of their own has brought her very special potato salad. Save us some, Grandma.