Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Grandmother passed away on December 26th. I'm putting together a eulogy for the funeral on Saturday.

Upon composing what to say for the eulogy, I found some of the writing I began while living in Ohio. The writing is as much about the inspiring people I met and where I lived (in a retirement home) as it is about my experiences with loss. I transcribed the writing and will post it below.

Grand Village Retirement Community- Archive

It is late spring and I am staying at my Grandma's apartment at Grand Village retirement community in Twinsburg. I've been walking around the complex for hours. The retirement community is gorgeous, but set up in a intrusive way with life to death in perfect visible order. The elderly first come to the apartments living independently and get assistance only when needed, then there are assisted living apartments, to a rehabilitation center for when they fall or have a stroke. This was where my Grandma was staying.

My new home smells of strong cleaning products and new carpets. This is my first apartment alone--I've been living at a family friend's house outside of Boston until now--I am the youngest person here by at least forty years. I am riding high on the mindset that I am here doing something of value for the first time since I stopped working and doing school; on top of that I have a lovely place to live.

The best thing about the apartment is the kitchen and the bay windows where the Midwestern sun shines in on dewy spring mornings. At night, I can sit on the deck and a slice of lemon moon shines right above me. The air is warm with anticipating summer.

I wander back to the main room where my Grandma's big screen television sits. The apartment has all the familiar furniture from her old house where she and my Grandpa had lived since my father was a baby. Grandpa had been featured in Popular Science magazine for building their home from a book he picked up. He had been a typesetter by trade and carpentry became his hobby. I remember him smelling of pipe smoke and wood chips, he made most of this furniture. The apartment is covered in pretty oil paintings my Grandma had painted. There is the young sad clown in the guest room where I sleep and the pastoral scene that hangs over the kitchen table.

More exploring. The pantry is where I discover the simple way my Grandma ate. The shelves are full of ramen noodle packets, canned tuna, canned beets, and boxes of rose hip tea. A very different palate from my father who through his admiration for food travels across the planet for different regional cuisine and had taught me to appreciate the same standards of eating. Now I will try a different diet, that of my Grandma's cabinets.

All buildings are in a walkable radius. Looking out of the windows of any building you can see a cemetery. I think about this place in a empty and good way, it is clear and easy to understand. Though, this doesn't stop me from being optimistic about the outcome of my mission. When this is done, I'll come back to Boston triumphant instead of feeling trapped with troubles with school, no work, and being an overstayed guest. I will be strong in my accomplishment, with more knowledge of how to get out of my rut. I am trembling with adrenalin or is that fear.