Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Funeral

 I haven't updated lately because I have busy with the business of my Grandmother's funeral.

Its a mixed blessing, I guess, because on the one hand, I miss her very much and I can't believe she won't be around to see me achieve everything she wanted for me in life. But on the other, even at her funeral it was obvious to see the legacy she has left behind. Our family is tight-knit and loving and the church – where she spent most of her time and energy, raising money, organizing committees, and just being a general bad ass – was packed with people whose lives she had touched.

There were two(2) priests officiating because one was the regular priest and one had grown up with my grandmother and wanted to do his best for her in anyway he could. His eulogy was so sweet and touching I nearly broke down. I know my Yiayia would have been so proud of him and of everyone there. If she attended the funeral, I know that she would have been thrilled at how it went.

After the funeral, and the burial, and the reception afterwards, we – all the cousins – went to her place to look through her things. My Yiayia was forever trying to get people to take her stuff. She was a practical woman and knew that, being 88, she wasn't going to need the stuff for so much longer. Her greatest wish was to see the things she loved in life go to someone who would care for them.

We felt... uncivilized, I guess, going through her things but, to be honest, nothing would have made her happier to know that they were going to a good home. We anicipated problems but, in the end, we are all family and we didn't have a single argument.

I took some books that she left me and some more books. And a ton more books. She had a billion books about Cyprus that no one really wanted and I, thinking about a possible future grad school thesis, didn't want them to be thrown out. They were all these independent publications that I wasn't going to find in a University library.

She had about 30 copies each of the Iliad, and the Odyssey, with about 10 copies each of the Orestia and the Oedipus Cycle. I, unfortunately, have all of these books (except the Iliad, which I took a copy of) so I couldn't take any. But my brothers and my cousins took some so there were less left in the end.

Going through her things reminded me how very alike we are and how much she loved us all. She had so many pictures everywhere of all of us and she had lovingly saved more or less anything we ever wrote her. She was so proud of the people we have become and I hope I can live my life in such a way that I continue to make her proud.

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