Eulogy for Mammaw

Ouieda Grant(Black) 1921-2010
My grandmother on my father’s side passed away early Tuesday morning.  I have not been asked to deliver a eulogy, but I feel the need to write one anyway.

Jesus told the parable of the talents where the good and faithful servant took the one talent, invested it, and made a profit.  He was then entrusted with more talents.  This describes my mammaw.  She was given but a few talents here on Earth to be trusted with and she invested these in her family and loved ones and returned a net profit.  In Heaven, I am sure she will be entrusted with much more because she was a good and faithful servant.

Her life wasn’t easy.  Born in 1921, she survived the great depression, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and both gulf wars.  She outlived two husbands and one of her own children.  She fought breast cancer and won before it was cool to put pink ribbons on everything.  She wouldn’t have said that any of that was special, and alone it really isn’t, but mammaw carried herself through these trials and tribulations with her head held high and her heart humble and reverent.  I am not exaggerating when I say that she is the most Christian woman I have ever known.

She was stubborn, oh was she stubborn.  But not just in the hard headed way.  She was stubborn in love, faith, and family.  Once she put her mind to doing something, it got done.  Some people have even called her mean.  She wasn’t really mean, but she was brutally honest and very direct.  She didn’t pull her punches.  She was also forgiving.  I never knew her to hold a grudge and she was always willing to give people second chances, or third, or fourth ones.  She loved almost to a fault.  She cared for my pappaw as he said his long goodbye.  She wouldn’t put him in a home and cared for him to the very end.  A lesser person would have broken into a million pieces, but she held strong and would eventually remarry to nice widower.

She influenced my life more than any other person.  She relentlessly urged her children and grandchildren into church, some of which, would surely have caused the church to burst into flames upon entering.  She would put away her disappointment if the invitation was refused and would just start on the next week.  She carried me to church when I visited on summers, read from her bible, and quizzed me on my bible lessons.  But my faith was only one aspect that she influenced.  She showed me what strength and leadership were.  She had principles and one of those principles was standing up fearlessly for her principles.  She wasn’t afraid to admit when she was wrong and overcame prejudices.  She was smart, I didn’t even realize how much so until I got old enough to realize how little I knew myself. There are many times in my life that the only thing that kept me out of serious trouble was not wanting to disappoint mammaw.  At a rough point in my marriage, not wanting to disappoint her helped give me the strength to power through.  I can honestly say that I would have given up on my marriage had she not been around during that time.

She wasn’t perfect, but she would have been the first person to tell you that.  But, to me, she was a superwoman.  She was adept in all the traditional womanly arts, but also had a business sense about her.  The woman would get up at 5am every morning and cook for anyone that came through her kitchen door.  She loved giving to people.  She bailed my mom out of some tough spots during and after her marriage to my dad.  I have no idea how she did everything she did, or how she held herself and her family together for as long as she did.  No, actually I do.  She prayed.  I have no doubt of that.  Her faith gave her comfort and stilled her heart.  It gave her temperance and allowed her to forgive.  It took her loving, giving spirit and amplified it.

Mammaw took the talents she was given and invested them in those all around her.  Some bared fruit and some are still seeds or seedlings waiting to sprout.  When she gets to Heaven (I have no doubt about that), God will call her to him and tell her, “Good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with a few things on Earth, so I will set you over many things in Heaven.  She will have rewards in Heaven, but that is only a result and was never her motivation.  The good was reason enough.  If she had a dying wish, I am sure it would have been that everyone that mourns her passing or celebrates her life will find their way to church this Sunday.


5 Responses to “Eulogy for Mammaw”

  1. Just beautiful, Budd. RIP, Mawmaw.

  2. Grandmas are the glue that holds the world and family together. If you idolize your parents like I do you have to thank Grandma for the fact that they even existed. Sleep well Mammaw. And wake each day with a guiding heart. Watch over those who are still here and keep a seat for them at the dinner table. We’ll all be home before we know it.

  3. This is beautiful. I’m sorry for your loss.

  4. Thanks everyone. She had a good run at 89 years old. Hers was a life to be celebrated.

  5. My condolences, Budd. This is a beautiful tribute to Mammaw. Some of the toughest people I’ve ever known are also the most caring.

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