Sunday, June 15, 2008

In Memoriam


Here is the eulogy I presented:

My grandmother will be fondly remembered for her many passions.


As a young girl she enjoyed playing the piano. We knew she loved music. She had her collection of records, tapes, and CDs. From Brahms and Schubert, to Elvis and Orbison, she loved them all. She was even known to compliment an occasional Celine Dion song, but when asked what she thought of Roland's Rammstein, her opinion came out loud and clear--"Roland you listen to shit!!" (she would say it, rolling her “r”s in the way that she always did)


She was a private person who lived for her garden. When starting to get the Alberta winter blues, the arrival of the seed catalogues would lift her spirits and have her happy and smiling again as she planned which flowers, vegetables and new varieties she would add this year. She was excited every spring to see the daffodils and other spring flowers pop up through the earth. Her proudest moments were spent showing us through her beautiful yard. Ask her, “What’s that one called?” and she would be glad to share her gardening knowledge. My favourite was the snap dragons and she would smile as my brother and I pinched their tiny flower mouths open and shut. Everyone knew well not to call her before 9 at night as she was sure to be out tending her garden. She worked tirelessly from early morning until late evening, every day that the weather allowed.


She was raised a city girl, and was very well educated for her time.  Adjusting to life in small town Alberta was challenging for her. She kept herself well informed by surrounding herself with books; topics from botany to biographies, in German and in English.

She liked to watch TV documentaries and shows as such as Nancy Grace and Larry King Live and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She kept herself up to date with current events, and liked to discuss not just what was going on in the news, but the underside of it, the human side.

Never afraid of a lively discussion, she would sometimes start conversations around topics that most people purposely avoid. When she asked our opinion on politics or religion, she did so not to cause problems, but because she genuinely liked to know other people’s thoughts. She enjoyed discussions about world events and headline news.

I image her thirst for knowledge was a contributing factor in keeping her mind clear and sharp right up until the end.


She was blessed with good health up until late into her eighties. Until then, we would frequently find her kneeling down on the floor, playing tug of war with the dog, petting the cats, or helping Miranda and Emily with a puzzle or game. The light in her face, at these times showed the deep love she felt, for children and animals.

She was a kind and caring woman. She never bragged, but quietly she made many large donations to the SPCA, as she always felt that we should give an extra hand to animals, who were unable to care for themselves. She was a women who loved all animals especially cats, who she used to tenderly call her “kleines kind”.

She made friends with a little squirrel who would visit her in the yard. She took great delight in feeding him and watching him run along the deck and climb and jump through the trees. Setting out peanuts for him, she would sit for long periods of time, watching, and marvelling at how many peanuts he could hide. When visiting her, we were sure to ask for updates on the squirrel, when was he last by, how he was doing, and how was his nut collection. I think she never did uncover the mystery of where he was stashing all the peanuts.


She was a proud and independent woman. She would be seen carrying home her bags of groceries, in her environmentally friendly reusable bags, and when asked by friends if she needed a ride, she would politely decline the offer. She enjoyed the fresh air, her walks, and her independence. Throughout her life she took the time to take care of herself, eat healthy, and she reaped the benefits by staying young as long as possible.

My grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday on February 16th 2008 at her home in Evansburg. She was happy and surprised by how many people were there for her party. She enjoyed a glass of wine and the food, but her favourite was the butter cream torte that her long-time friend Maria baked.


My favourite memory of my grandmother is from when I was 6. She was in the city for the day and walked me to school. I held her hand the entire way. I wanted all of my friends to see her was we walked through the school yard. I was so proud that she was my grandma and I wanted to show her off. I wanted all of my schoolmates to see that she belonged to me.

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