Today, we laid to rest my grandmother, Anne Patricia Melia. I was asked to give a eulogy on behalf of my generation, the grandchildren. What I said was roughly this:
It’s my honor to speak today on behalf of 20 lucky people. With me, we make 21, and our good fortune is also our pride. We are your grandchildren, and we will miss you, Grandma.
As a little child, I thought you were superhuman. Every year, you remembered my birthday with a card and a check. Multiply that by all the cousins and it’s understandable how I suspected a superhuman memory, and a superhuman bank account.
But later I realized that you were not superhuman exactly — the truth is that you were a super human being. You did that unique human thing called love better than anyone I know.
You built us, quite literally built us, with love. When told by doctors that you might not walk if you got pregnant again after your first baby, you ignored them and relied on love. We’re lucky you did. Otherwise, Matt would be a very lonely cousin. But ignore them you did, and ended up two generations later with 21 of us grandkids. And you made each one of us feel special, remembering this one’s favorite food, teaching that one to play cards, and always being there for each grandchild’s big events. You wore your pride in us on your sleeve, and it gave us pride in ourselves. And always, you loved us.
Love was a constant. From the days when I couldn’t speak well and you could, to the days when you couldn’t speak well, you never had trouble letting me know how much you loved me.
What makes our group of 21 lucky is not just that we shared a loving relationship with you, our grandmother. It’s that we have loving, supportive relationships with each other. It’s easy to forget sometimes that to have a close-knit family, somebody had to be a talented knitter. You were the one with those knitting needles pulling us close to each other. You used to arrange to have two grandchildren come visit you and grandpa in Florida; two grandchildren close in age but of different parents visiting at the same time. Relationships formed and grew during these visits, and of course at family vacation after family vacation. You taught the older cousins to take care of the younger ones. You taught us to compete together, to laugh together, and to love together. You and Grandpa taught us what a good marriage was. What partnership is. What family means.
We will carry your love, Grandma. It is already with us everyday. We take it with us as we study, as we teach, as we make movies. Carrying your love as we write stories, as we pray, as we prepare for battle. Carrying your love as we work to improve government, as we organize, as we explore other countries and continents. Carrying your love as we sing and dance, as we get married, as we become parents. Carrying your love as we hang a certain christmas ornament each year. Carrying your love as we try to make our little corner of the world a little better.
All 21 of us are here today, Grandma. 21 lucky people. Our good fortune is also our pride.
With our love, our thanks, and our best wishes,
We are the grandchildren of Anne Melia