A Eulogy for Mary Margaret Kell (1902-1990)

Susan notes:
This is the eulogy I delivered at my grandmother's funeral in 1990. My "Gran" was a spirited, independent woman with a mind of her own (hey, that's a quality that seems to run in the family!). This year marked the 20th anniversary of her death, but she is as alive in my heart now as she was when I used to sit with her and chat in her sunroom in St Jovite, Canada...

I guess most of us never really believed that Gran would die someday. Until just last week her body was healthy and vital despite her 88 years. And she was so strong-willed and determined, it seemed impossible for even death to win in a battle with Gran.

All of you, her friends, surely know of the strength of her character and the depth of her convictions. She had an independent spirit and a mind of her own. We could always count on her to be pragmatic, direct, and opinionated.

As I said to Auntie Lee the day before last, Gran probably has all the angels organized already, and before long she'll be "advising" the good Lord himself on how to plant his garden!

It was Gran's independent spirit, a quality she passed on to her children and her grandchildren, that likely motivated her to leave her home in Nova Scotia as a young woman to start a new life in faraway Montreal.

No doubt she planned and prepared for a long time, working and saving to pay for the trip and her schooling. And on the day she left, I can imagine her excitement and anticipation as she boarded the train. Knowing Gran, she would have been ready for the new life that lay ahead.

It strikes me now that Gran prepared herself for her journey this week in much the same way she would have done those many years ago. My mom was saying how it was sad that Gran had fallen ill after weathering the winter so well. But Gran, being Gran, probably waited through the winter just so she could go in the spring.

Still, I can't help but feel sad, as I'm sure you must, and just as I imagine her first family would have felt, when they stood on the platform at the train station as Gran started out on her new life. Though she may have been prepared for both of these journeys, many of us weren't ready to see her go.

And goodbyes, no matter how well-prepared we are, always seem hard to accept. When I begin to feel sad, I call to mind a quote by author Richard Bach that I'd like to share with you before Paul says a few words.

It goes like this:

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes.
A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again,
after moments or lifetimes,
is certain for those who are friends."

Related links:
A Tribute to Mary Margaret Kell (1902-1990)