Friday, October 18, 2013

I Carry Your Heart with Me (I Carry it in my Heart)

My Grandma Stacey was one of the best people in the world. She was strong and could do anything the boys could do. She was funny and made dirty jokes with us kids. She was fun and young at heart, and could sled down a hill with the best of us, laughing the whole way. She was beautiful and wonderful, and everything about her was to be enjoyed and celebrated. When she passed away in 2009, my uncle asked my mom if I would write her eulogy. I was truly honored, as I have written before. However, I was also a nervous wreck. Here I was, grieving the death of one of the best people in the world, trying to write about why she was one of the best people in the world.

Prompt: What's the hardest thing you've ever had to write and why?

As I do fairly often, to get my brain working, I began with a quote. I picked one I liked by EE Cummings; I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. It seemed fitting, and honestly as I was browsing Google for a quote, it stuck out to me, so I went with it. I sat at the computer and typed page after page after page of memories of life with Grandma Stacey. Her humor. Her charm. Her wit. The way she took care of us, the way she let us eat cookies whenever we wanted. I typed and cried, and none of it was organized or good, and all of it was beautiful.

I sent an email to my family, asking them to send me their favorite moments with Grandma. What did they remember? What made them happy? What would they want to hear someone read in a church on a day meant to say goodbye? The emails I received back were as beautiful to read and made me cry as hard as anything I'd already written.

When it came time to make these jumbles of stories, memories, and moments into a well-organized, actual piece of writing, with complete thoughts and sentences, and with exactly the voice I wanted it to have when my cousin read it, I had a moment (or a few) where I laid in bed and thought, no way, I can't do this. Shit. What did I agree to do? How am I supposed to take the memories and stories from my entire family and write them in a way that everyone in the room will connect with? Nope, I can't do that!

Eventually, I was able to sit back at the computer and get my sentences out. I don't think in my whole life I have ever spent so much time, energy or thought on anything. I wrote, cried, and edited for days. By the time it was finished, every single word had a purpose. Every word was written with love, every sentence with everything I had. I was so, very proud of myself for what I wrote.

On the day of my grandma's funeral, I sat in the church with Stacey and Tyler, and listened to my cousin Joseph read every word. And as I listened, I looked around at my family, and especially at my mom, her siblings, and my grandpa, and was so happy to see them smiling at parts. I was so glad that what I wrote was able to bring some smiles on a very hard, very sad day. So while writing the euology for my grandma was the hardest I have ever worked to write anything in my life, I was so grateful for that opportunity and was very proud of myself for being able to put so much of her awesoemness into written word.