Homecoming: Celebrating My Grandmother’s Memory

Dropping everything to fly home for the funeral of a loved one is never easy. But grief and hard times aside, it’s often the perfect excuse for a family reunion.

You see, as much as I love my cousins, Rebecca and Andrew (twins) and John, and the twins’ spouses John R. and Kelly, due to logistical difficulties, we haven’t all been in the same place at once since Rebecca’s wedding in 2004 (and that was pre-Kelly days).

Also, distant cousins who we hadn’t seen in more than a decade made the trek to Tullahoma to pay their respects to my grandmother, which was just testament to what an amazing person she was and how many lives she touched.

And then there are my grandmother’s ever-hilarious brothers, Tom (88) and Jimmy (82), who used to dip her pigtails in the inkwells at the schoolhouse and chop off her luscious curly locks, much to the chagrin of her own mother.

The burial, visitation and service all took place in one day, which was ROUGH and tiring and many tears were shed, many times over. But surrounded by family members galore, we managed to power through it.

And even have some fun when 25 or so of us convened at my house after it was all over. Because there is one thing to be said about Southern hospitality: It never fails in times of need. The casseroles, pies and other baked goods are still coming out of the woodworks, and my parents’ palatial pad looks like a florist’s shop.

And then there was a chance to meet the Little One.

Who is ADORABLE. Even when her Uncle Andrew tried to cook her in the microwave.

And a much-needed miracle in the face of such sadness. Once the lights went down, the beer tasting (from two true connoisseurs who spent all of the previous week driving from Tennessee to California, stopping only for brewery tours) commenced.

Though my grandmother herself claimed to have never drank–she was a Southern lady, people, lest you forget–I did find this classic photo in the files. Wine Country, circa 1980.

And even my grandfather had a smile on his face for much of the evening. Because that’s how she would have wanted it. All of her family gathered together again in one place, laughing about the old times.

But boy, do we all sure miss her.

  • August 5, 2008

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. My condolences!

    But, it is an amazing testament to the kind of people you have as a family that in every single one of those pictures, everyone is smiling. What a strong, resilient bunch! 🙂

  • August 5, 2008

    Sorry for your loss.

    I remember the times when funerals were like spontaneous family reunions. Hope things in your family don’t end up going the way that things have gone in my family lately. Then again if certain of my cousins had been around, it probably would have been a different scene.

  • August 5, 2008

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother.
    Your grandma has quite a beautiful legacy in your family. And those are some treasures you have in those photos.

  • August 5, 2008

    so sorry, lady. but i’m glad that you found support with your family, and were able to get home to see them.

  • August 5, 2008

    last pic is one of the most adorable things i have ever seen. thinking about you, beav! xo

  • August 5, 2008
    May Vanderbilt

    OMG. I’m sniffling and almost crying here at work.

    Your grandma seems like such a neat lady and I LOVE that picture at the end.

    I’m glad you have such a close family to turn to in times like this.

  • August 5, 2008
    La Petite Chic

    Oh my goodness, I am so sorry about your grandmother. You are right though…funerals bring us together and give us the chance to reconnect with family and that is always a positive thing.

  • August 5, 2008

    So sorry!

    LOVE that last photo.

  • August 5, 2008

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. My son was born 5 months before my grandfather passed away, and I saw how babies can really bring home the idea of the circle of life in a big way.

    You have beautiful family. I’m glad you were all there to comfort each other.

  • August 5, 2008

    I LOVE these pictures Kristin! The one of Dede and Grandaddy Bill (the one at the beach) is priceless. Their love for each other over the last …what was it 66 years? is so hopeful to me. We can make it!

  • August 6, 2008

    i’m so sorry to hear about this. sooo sorry, hon. hugs.
    but the pics are GREAT (ali loves finding the silver lining!)

  • August 6, 2008

    So sorry to hear about your grandma. It sounds like your family turned out the occasion just like she would have wanted. There’s nothing like family.

  • August 6, 2008

    Sorry to hear about Dede. I know she will be missed. I love the picture at the beach. And babies can definitely bring joy to any situation.

  • August 6, 2008

    Sorry for your loss. Hang in there!

  • August 6, 2008

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother.

  • August 10, 2008

    who is that kid? she is the cutest thing i have ever seen! you should really tell her mom to submit her to the cutest kid in the world competition 🙂

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