Mary Foote of Harrison, Ohio, shared this heartfelt eulogy, which was delivered at the funeral of Vivian Rippy by Christopher Eckes, Mary’s nephew and one of Vivian’s grandsons. We include it here as a tribute to loving grandmothers everywhere.
It’s the little things that seem to stand out the most—her rolled up Kleenexes, her colorful muumuus, her iced tea and fried chicken, the aroma of her kitchen or a “yoo-hoo” from the other side of the door letting you know it was all right to come in.
I’ll remember her tapping her foot to Lawrence Welk or cheering for Johnny Bench (her favorite ball player). There are so many things that I can see and feel as if they had just happened.
I’m sure everyone here has memories much like mine. They are good memories, something we’ll always have to cherish. It isn’t often in our lives that we come across someone so special that that person stays with you forever. Grandma was that kind of person.
The only way to get hurt in this life is to care. Grandma cared more than most, loved more than most and was made to suffer more than most because of just how much she cared.
But no matter how many times she was knocked down or made to endure things that no one should, she just kept coming back; caring more and loving more—opening herself up to even more pain. Yet there were never any complaints or bitterness—it was the only way she knew how to live.
The kind of love Grandma felt for us was a love without condition. She may not have approved of everything we did, may not have liked some of the decisions we made, but she didn’t lecture, she didn’t judge. She just kept loving us, letting us know that she was there and if we ever needed her, we could count on her to listen, to comfort, to help.
She lived a simple life. It didn’t take much to make her happy—a phone call, a card, a visit or a kiss before saying good night. We were the most important people in the world to her. She lived to make our lives better and was proud of us.
To think that someone like her felt that way about us should make us all feel more than just a little good. We can never forget that there is a part of her in each of us, something that she gave to us and asked nothing for in return.
Money can be squandered and property ruined, but what we inherited from her cannot be damaged, destroyed or lost. It is permanent, and it keeps her from becoming just a wonderful memory. It allows her in so many ways to remain just as alive as always—alive through us.
There have been and will be times in our lives when situations arise where we’ll want so much to talk to her, be with her or ask her just what we should do. I hope that, when those times come, we can begin to look to each other and find that part of her that she gave to each of us.
Maybe we can learn to lean on each other and rely on each other the way we always knew that we could with her. Maybe then she won’t seem quite so far away.
So, for your wisdom, your humor, tenderness and compassion, your understanding, your patience and your love; thank you, Grandma. After you, Grandma, the mold was indeed broken. Thank you so much. I love you.