Posted by: alethacs | October 19, 2008

Goodbye Dear Grandma

Last week, October8, we said goodbye to our dear Grandmother Gasper. Alice Gasper was a kind, generous mother, friend, sister, and grandmother. Though she was officially my husband’s grandmother, Alice was always welcoming to me, never leaving me to feel as a second-class part of the family or just an “in-law” relation

Brian’s memories of Alice are sweet, full of humor and warmth. I know he will miss joking with her as the children will miss out on getting to know her better (as will we all).

We attended services to celebrate her passing in Dallas, and although the occasion was sad, her funeral mass, said by her nephew Fr. Jimmy, was uplifting and inspirational. I especially appreciated his comments that we should not only pray for Grandma, but to her and that when we feel her operating in our hearts and actions, it truly is her continuing to live through us. He reminded us that the sadness we feel at her passing can be lovingly remembered as the footprints she left on our hearts.

After the passing of my own grandparents, with whom I lived for many years and saw as surrogate parents, I expressed to my mother-in-law that I would have liked to have some of the things they used everyday, to use them myself. She suggested that I ask the people who had them if I might have some of these things. I followed her advice, and although it was hard to ask for as I did not want to seem ungrateful or greedy, my aunt kindly gave me my grandparent’s iron skillet and a ceramic mixing bowl last month (these items were actually my great-grandparent’s). Now as I use these items in my own cooking, I feel as if my grandparents are with me in the kitchen, kindly gazing over my cooking a pancake or mixing up a batch of cookies. I think of all the other items made in these simple kitchen tools and feel a kinship and oneness with my ancestors and a sense of validation in my tasks of mothering and cooking for my children.

After Grandma Gasper passed, I was also the recipient of some of her things. Grandma was a veteran shopper and at 90 was more fashionable than I am likely to ever be, so I gladly accepted some of her things. Now as I wear her coat to work in the garden, surrounded by her great-grandchildren, I feel her spirit watching over us. The things themselves of course do not have life or memories, but through my reuse of them I feel somehow connected to the people who have left them behind and hope I am honoring their memories as they are lovingly used again.

Thank you Grandma for your kind example and thoughtful ways. We will miss you so.

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