My Grammy, Lillian Frances Sprau, died last month after an amazing life spanning more than a century; she lived 100.5 years. Just days before her death I was fortunate to see her and I’m grateful that I got to hold her hand as she pulled it closer to her heart. Grammy was my mom’s mother and it is clear where my mom gets her sweet, kind demeanor. While planning my Grammy’s memorial service my mom asked me to speak at the funeral. I did my best to draft something meaningful prior to the service but couldn’t come to peace with my words, nor did I think I could keep my composure sharing any stories. With more time and reflection, I’ve finally come up with what I should have said at my Grammy’s funeral.
I should have simply shared this story: for the better part of two decades my Mom would speak with her mother every Saturday morning. This meant that any other plan on Saturday morning never included our Mom. In other words, our Saturday schedule revolved around these weekly calls until the conversation was over. Sometimes these phone conversations lasted 30 minutes and sometimes they went well beyond an hour, but every time our world stopped so my Mom could connect with her mother.
Most of the conversations went very much the same, updates on my Grandfather while he was still alive, discussion about the weather in their respective cities, some chatter about sports, an update about what was new for my mom, and of course the latest news for my Grandmother’s other 8 children and their families. Rarely did they talk about the economy or the political scene. Instead they centered their conversations around family… what really mattered.
From our end of the phone we observed much laughter and love and the important bond of a mother and her daughter. From these phone calls I also learned the importance of a routine and having something to look forward to. Countless times I pictured my Grammy sitting in her comfy armchair, waiting for a phone call, much like when I saw my mom lower herself into her LazyBoy to begin the weekly update.
While my love for my Grandmother extends beyond this memory, I regularly think of what these conversations meant for the well-being of both my Mom and Grammy. In my life, I find much reward from routine. I drink coffee every morning, I wake before the sun comes up, I workout consistently and love my Sundays spent watching football. Most importantly, I routinely connect with those close to me. While I may not call my parents every Saturday a.m. I do try to keep them updated on what I’m doing, the latest weather, and most importantly what’s growing in my yard. Weeks pass quickly and I’m grateful that come Saturday morning I’m healthy, happy, and lucky to live the life I’ve created.
My Mom loved her mother and until their last visit could make my Grammy laugh and smile. I doubt my Grammy ever expected much from the weekly phone calls because she never asked much of any of us. Nonetheless, I’m certain that when these calls were routine, both my Mom and Grammy cherished the conversations and that the calls strengthened their bond and care for one another. From this, I’m reminded that my Mom will be the one woman who will always care what’s new on my end of the line. I’m grateful that my Grammy showed us both how to routinely care for one another with unconditional and unparalleled love and respect. That, my friends, is what I should have said at my Grammy’s funeral…..