Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Bye Bye Peg

If you read my last post (I know it was awhile ago, sorry, I will try to update more often), you'd know my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer about 3 weeks ago. She was given 6 weeks, but lasted about 2 1/2. Last Wednesday, September 20th, she passed away, surrounded by family.

It was too soon for us, but thankfully she had enough time to speak with most people and went before she had too much pain. I went up with my brother on Saturday to help out/prepare. Two of my cousins and I cleaned out her closets and drawers. We found a sweatshirt we had given her that had "Number One Grandma" and all our names (well, the first 15) stenciled on it. We added the newest 4 and asked the pastor to put it in the coffin before that buried her. Other cousins made picture memory boards and lots of people cleaned.

On Monday we had the viewing. I knew it would be sad, but I didn't know it would be that bad. As soon as I walked in the door of the funeral home, I saw my cousin Jill crying and it hit me. Other people crying often makes me cry too. Then my uncle Keith hugged me real hard, because he had just gone up to the casket.

Peg looked really nice and peaceful and they didn't put too much make-up on her. She had 5 sets of roses- one from the club, work, the family, the grandkids and Pop-Pop. The one on top (Pop-Pop's) was a whole bunch of red roses, with one yellow because he used to sing "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for her. I started crying again when my aunt Jackie went up with their family. She started crying and my cousin Jake, who is about 12 1/2, held her waist, put his head on her shoulder and she rested her head on his, like he was supporting her. Seeing him that grown-up made the tears come again. I was glad that I got to see her and say my goodbyes, but it was hard.

As the oldest, and as a budding lawyer who is supposed to speak in front of people, I was elected to give one of the eulogies at her funeral. I started crying right from the get go. Her son gave the first one, which was nice. Her twin sister's daughters gave the second one together which made the tears come even more. My mom was sitting next to me, handing me tissues and I was trying to blot my eyes.

I got a miscue and walked up to the podium before the minister introduced me and said, "Forgive me if I don't make eye contact", sniffed, said "They picked me to read so I wouldn't do this" and burst out crying. It was only for a second and then I somewhat pulled it together.
This is what I read:

"Before Peggy died she told me a story. She said, "Every time I look at you, I remember this one time when you were little and I was putting you to bed. And you asked me where do you live and I said I live here. And you said I had a grandmother who used to live here, but she died, so I guess you can live here now." I don't remember that story and I don't remember the exact moment when Peggy came into my life, she was just always part of it. She was always just my grandma.

Peggy was the first person you'd see when you walk through the back door, sitting sideways in her recliner, knitting needles in hand and Pop-Pop by her side. She wanted to know how you were doing, and to listen to everyone's stories. She had quite a few of her own that she liked to tell time and again. She loved to be involved in all of her grandchildren's lives. Many a baby has come home wrapped in a blanket made by her especially for them. She went to graduations, ball games, gymnastic meets, surgeries, birthday parties, concerts, baptisms etc. If there was a major event in any of our lives Peggy was there. She was proud of each and every one of us, and was ready to tell anyone who would listen. Even when she was alive Peggy was looking over us.

What made Peg great were the little things. She remembered everyone's birthday and her calendar was full of important dates. She always tried to be fair and never tried to make anyone the favorite. She would worry about what to get everyone for Christmas and I think she probably kept American Girl Dolls in business for a few years. She was one of few people who could yell at you and make you laugh at the same time.

My favorite times with Peg were Christmas mornings. It didn't matter if I was 6 or 26, we weren't allowed to see what Santa had brought us until we went upstairs and woke her up. She'd sit with my mom, cup of coffee in her hand, and watch as we pulled stuff out of our stockings. Then we'd all go into the kitchen and eat breakfast. She never wanted to be left out. Christmas mornings will never be the same.

Different things can trigger a memory. After talking to various grandchildren here are a few things that will always remind us of Peggy:
Deviled eggs
Match Game
Hilarious conversations with Pop-Pop
Pearberry lotion
Macaroni and Cheese
"I hate big trucks"
Boxed wine
Murder she wrote
Pedicures & manicures
The smell of cotton blossom lotion, in the tub not the pump
Her stories

Peg loved her angels. She was surrounded with them in life and now every time something happens to one of us, be it a wedding, the birth of a great grand child, or simply drinking a glass of chardonnay, when we feel a breeze or hear a "woo woo woo", we'll know she's there. I've been lucky enough to have 3 grandmothers. My first Hackman grandma has been watching over me for 22 years. I'd like to believe that Peg is up there with her, one on either side, my 2 angels, making sure I go straight.

Peg, you were a wonderful grandmother and we'll miss you."

I started crying at the "Before" and then again at the last line, which I don't think I even got all the way out. My cousin, an uncle and an aunt all read passages and the minister spoke for awhile. People were sniffing and crying throughout. When I saw the tears in my brother's and my cousin Bret's eyes, I started up again. And when I saw Pop-Pop wipe his away. We all passed by the coffin one last time and my 2 year old cousin was behind me and she said, "Night Night" which made me cry again.

The place she's buried is a beautiful spot. She is next to my grandma and Pop-Pop said that he wants to go between them because when he gets sick of one, he can roll over to the other. My brother and uncle planted mums on my grandma's grave, but someone had pulled some of them up. At the end of the service, Pop-Pop asked to get the yellow rose from the bouquet, which got me crying again. All the grandkids got roses from the grandkids' bouquet.

Then she was gone. Bye Bye Peg, we miss you already.

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