Thursday, July 03, 2008

I remember my first communion, I was about eleven years old, standing up here, nervous as I could be, as I had been given the task of reading a passage for our graduating group. I remember being a nervous, gawky gal, looking out in this very large congregation, I had almost lost nerve, and as I paused at the paulpet, I looked out and wavered a bit, and then I spotted Gran. She was so proud, so noble, so at peace, so serene, as she was so at home ,in this church, and surrounded by her family and through her stance, maybe her smile, it gave me courage to make the reading.

And here I am now, at the very paulpet, in the very same church, a church filled with love, in which would bring her most comfort and peace.

But today I stand without her smiling, loving face, to guide me forward...

But as I look out at this congregation, I realize, in my heart, it is here, it will always be here, it is in the faces of all who she loved. And for this, my heart, just as yours, should find solace.

My Name is Pendullum and I am the eldest grand daughter of Margaret Patricia Dribblingwitt. Or simply, Patsy, to her friends.

I have been given the great honour to write a eulogy for my grandmother.

A eulogy, when I looked up its true meaning was that of a speech in which we give praise of a person. And this puts me in a quandary, as to write a speech about my Gran, I would almost insist that you pull out a cushion, make yourself comfortable and hear a yarn of a truly wonderful matriarch who had quite the journey on these eighty seven years on this planet.

And to know my Gran, was to love my Gran.

And I would love to go back and talk of her growing up in Northern Ireland in County Down with her brothers and sisters, and of her Mammy and Da' . But I could never do it justice, as we really need her beautiful voice to tell the tale. We would also need to know the lay of the land, the smell of the air and if there was a breeze or wind blowing. We would need to hear of all the beautiful details of the fabric of the story. As it is in the telling, in which makes a true story.

I would love to tell the story of how she met her dear Paddy, my grandfather. How she met him at a dance.I would tell you how they went to four dances together, four dances which were held in the evening, before he asked her to a picnic on a beautiful, lush, sunny day. She would talk of how she was smitten,she would say of how she fancied him.
And then she would tell of her horror at the picnic...Then, in her tale, she would pause for dramatic effect, raise her eye brow, have a sip of tea, and then she would make certain she had eye contact and your undivided attention.

Her horror on this beautiful, warm, sunny, perfect afternoon day.

Was it the wind?

Nay, it was not the wind?

Was it the rain?

No, we already established it was a beautiful, sunny day.

Was it the fact that Paddy forgot to pack an essential piece for their picnic?

Maybe the blanket?

Was it, that Paddy was rude?

No, No, he was kind and ever so thoughtful and he had the best sense of humour and was fun.
He was perfect and that was the problem.

Now, how can this be a problem you may ask?

Well, Patrick John Dribblingwitt had the misfortune of being born with the most beautiful, green, Irish laughing eyes.

Now, if you are at a loss, you may not of known the point and the point is this:

My grandmother was intensely supersticious. An itchy nose was a certainty of a fight or a kiss by a fool, so she always shook your hand, thereby the fight would not be with her.She would always tell you with great certainty that if your dropped a fork a woman was coming over for an unexpected visit. A pair of new shoes on the table was a certainty of the worst fight imaginable.

But my grandmother's main golden superstition was about the Irish and green. She believed you should never wear green, especially if you were Irish, For the wee faery folk do not take too kindly if ya are wearing green, as they liked to play mischief with those who did.

And with the lead up to a perfect picnic, she told of her quandary.

'Pendullum, you can not stop seeing a man for the colour of 'is eyes.'

I like to believe this story showed how much she loved him, as she married him. She married him in spite of his beautiful green, green, laughing Irish eyes.

You have heard the story I am certain, of their wedding day and how Father Boyd who married this young couple, gave them a blessing of saying 'May you see your children's children's children.'

And with telling the story, as she often did, she would pause and say, 'Aye, I am blessed. I have, indeed, seen my children's children's children'.

And weren't they just the apple of her eye?

She truly loved her family.

She would often have tales of her life in Ireland with her boys,she would always refer to people with the pronoun Our. Our 'arry, Our 'Liam, Our Anthony, Our Martine.

And when I had written my Great Uncles all those years ago and asked what they remembered of Paddy and Patsy's home both brothers said the house was filled with love and endless laughter. I believe, no greater compliment could be paid of a family.

And Gran was a true storyteller, a story teller from a long impressive list of storytellers, not the least her Da. Gran was a storyteller, it was in her blood. She had her first taste when she was thirteen writing for the Newry Reporter and by the time she was in her fifties it was a polished artform.

When you went to visit her on Arthur Street you would be enveloped in love. You would be greeted by the warmest smile, her eyes would twinkle with delight. You would have to sit right next to her, on her left hand side, as her ashtray and her her provisions for the visit would be on her right. A pot of tea or two would be brewed,and you were to stay and tell of your news and to hear of hers and of the past. You would hear a story or two or twenty.

And as you sat, she would have you. And she would not let go, a hand on your arm, a face turned directly to you, with all her energy focussed upon your very being... She basked in 'the moment' shared. As it was a moment and she truly saw it as such.

And as you visited after the second pot of tea would be brewed, and then a meal. And when you thought there could be no more talk there would be the offering of chocolate; a sherry. And you knew how special you were, as these were items to be savoured, just as a good lottery ticket, or a new jar of Oil of Olay.

And the Past year a great deal was taken from my grandmother. She suffered. Goodness, how she suffered. And one would think that she was being 'tested'. She was in so much pain and discomfort.

But through it all, through each trial, I would marvel at how she was always kind, always polite, she never cussed or swore, she never forgot her manners. She was poked and proded, she always said please and thank yous for any act of kindness, her face always lit up with any of her family walked into her room at the hospital. We were like a vision of complete happiness in her days of extreme hardship.

But alas, the stories became no more. The delight of a taste of sherry was a thing of the distant past and chocolate but a distant dream.

And watching her, you had to marvel at the fortitude as she never lost her faith. And you wished her Godspeed for her to join her Mammy,her Da' her brothers and sisters and her Paddy with his beautiful, green, laughing, Irish eyes, as you did not want her to suffer anymore.

And when you looked at her, you had much time to reflect. Through that time, there was time to have made to have given thanks for her,to her. You gave thanks to have been given the blessing of knowing her, to have heard of some of her stories, to have heard her laughter, to know that all of us are better people for having known her, to have known her witt, to have known her love of song and to have known her stories.

I know in my heart she is the cornerstone to who I am today.

She is an intergral part of all who are in this church today. I can hear her voice in all of her children, in the way they can tell a story, how all inherited a love of a good story, and I can hear it in my cousins as they tell a yarn. It's in our blood, it's in our history, It's in our history with Margaret Patricia Dribblingwitt.

And in this time, I would just like to sing the praises of Margaret Patricia Dribblingwitt and thank her for the great visit and we all look forward to the tea, the sherry, the chocolates and the stories when we see her again.

Thank You.

Love You Gran,
Your Always,
Loving Grand Daughter,


crazymumma said...

i guess the apple falls not far from the tree darling.

And no surprise you got to write the eulogy, it is appropriate. What an honour for you, I know how deeply you will treasure this.

And my deepest condolences.

xo Anne

Lady M said...

What a lovely eulogy for a wonderful woman. I'm sorry for your loss

Mel said...

What a loving tribute, Pendullum. You'll be in my thoughts, miss lady.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I feel like I know her now...and I miss her.

Lisa said...

So sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was an amazing woman. You did a great job on the eulogy. Am sure there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

Mamacita Tina said...

So sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Thank you for sharing a bit of her story with us. She's an incredible lady, obviously leaving a part of herself within you.

That girl said...

As always, beautifully written. She sounded darling.

seventh sister said...

Beautifully written.I am sure that you inherited the story telling ability.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Of course! Of course you've got the gift, and here is its source. I should have known.

My deepest condolences, Pendullum, for the passing of your grandmother. I am sorry, but I am also filled with hope. Her voice lives on in you.

carrie said...

And the storytelling continues . . .

Thinking of you, dear Pend.

Amber said...

A beautiful journey with a beautiful acknowledgment of what a powerful impact she still holds on your life today!

kim said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

Maddy said...

A eulogy indeed. You make her sound very familiar. She seems to be one of those people with a gift.
Very bet wishes

G said...

You most definately keep her alive with your own knack for storytelling....
deepest sorrows and a prayer for you to keep your strength at this time.

Mandaroo said...

Lovely words for a lovely woman. I'm sorry for your loss. She left you with a beautiful gift.

Thank you for taking time to leave a comment on my blog. I'm always excited with hope that it means you have a new post....sad may it be, your words are a pleasure to read.

steph said...

What a beautiful piece about your grandmother. You'll do well with the eulogy and what an honor to be asked.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Lynilu said...

What an incredibly beautiful story. I'd say you and your grandmother were both blessed with each other.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful memories. Love the Irish eyes.

I lost my beloved grandmother earlier this year and had the honor of writing her eulogy as well. My thoughts are with you. All the best.

Kristin said...

Lovely... I miss my grandma so much... I just wish my kids could have known her.

Catherine said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, P. But they couldn't have assigned the job of eulogizer to a better person. If only we could all be remembered so beautifully!

loopymamain06 said...

What a wonderful tribute to your "gran"
My heart goes out to you at the loss of your beloved grandmother.
Thanks for letting me know her.

Attila The Mom said...

Aw Pen, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

beautiful. the way you write of her. and she sounds beautiful. What an honor to have read this.

Crow said...

My prayers to you as you go through the loss of your grandmother. I have lost three grandmothers now...I admire your ability to write so eloquently about them...I would not have been able to do so.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Sounds like an amazing woman! I am sure she would be proud of your eulogy. I will pray for you during this difficult time!

chelle said...

They are so tough ... eulogies. I wrote one for my beloved Grandfather and I still do not feel like I did his life justice.

Your Gran sounds like an amazing woman. I am so sorry for your family's loss.

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

Pendullum. My first thought was "wow, THIS is where she gets her remarkable story-telling abilities." Because you my dear are blessed with that!

That was a lovely eulogy. I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of your words and the sincerity behind them.

I'm sorry I haven't visited your blog in months. I took a blogging hiatus when my blog went private.

now, I have a new blog that is public so I hope you'll come visit me. I've missed ya!

Sorry for being gone so long.

Dana (Sunshine)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Your Gran was indeed a very great lady in every sense of the word.

And I know that she is very proud of you, her eldest granddaughter who carries on the story telling tradition and always does her proud.

I'm sorry for your loss but happy for your many wonderful memories.

Grim Reality Girl said...

What a beautiful eulogy for a beautiful woman. Indeed, the apple does not fall far from the tree. And the spirit of a woman carries down through the generations. I'm sorry for your loss but am so glad you got to have her in your life! Tis a blessing to see your children's children's children.

Virtualsprite said...

Absolutely beatiful, Pen. A very touching eulogy.

(And I had forgotten that about the Irish and green. It was my grandmother's favorite color - she was Irish, too - but she always said it was lucky.)

Charlie said...

I realize that I'm a month overdue reading this, but time makes your eulogy no less wonderful.

And while you grieve at her passing, be assured that Gran is in a place where she can tell her stories and laugh forever . . .

Caro said...

I'm so sorry about your Gran.

She sounds like one of those rare people that everybody loves to be around. There aren't enough people like that in the world.

Open Grove Claudia said...

This is such a beautiful story - I've missed your stories. I only hope to love and honor people the way you do Pendullum.


I am deeply sorry for your loss

Rock the Cradle said...

A great lady left you with as many great stories as there are people in your family, and friends, and strangers meeting her for the first time through your words.

Hers was a well lived life. What a wonderful teacher. She reminds me of our own Oma.

I'm so glad you had her, and she had you!

rak said...

She embraces you, even now...and you tell such a beautiful account of her :)

Brissiemum2 said...

I stumbled across your blog kinda by accident. Your blog post was beautiful and so touching. I know exactly how you feel. I lost my nanna a little over 2 years ago and the sadness and pain is still raw. She too, was an amazing, strong woman who had a hard life.

PG said...

Reminds me of my grandma.
She sounds like a wonderful woman.

My condolensces

Staci said...

I'm sorry for your loss and what a beautiful tribute.