Remembering Grandma

My Grandma Priscilla and me, on the day I was born, January 1988

My family, circa 1986, before I was born. My grandma, mother, father, older brother, and grandpa 

My Grandma Precy is one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my life. She was also a talented recreational seamstress, so people always say I get my passion and talent for sewing from her. What's more, she was known to be beautiful, gracious, and kind, with a voracious appetite for creativity and learning. Most of my memories involve her reading, sewing, or doing crossword puzzles. She used to tell me stories and make clothing for my dolls; she even surprised me by making a cloth doll for me. This doll, named Precy for my grandmother, sits in my sewing room, where I can see her whenever I do my work.

Grandma passed away from complications from cervical cancer in September of 2016, one week after I spoke with her for the last time.

Below is the eulogy I wrote for her.

Yesterday was her birthday. l appreciate you reading. She was wonderful.

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Good morning everyone. My name is Janelle and I am so honored to be here today, with all of you who loved my Grandma Priscilla. I am the daughter of her oldest son, Joe, and I along with my brother Jon, am very blessed to be one of Grandma’s eight grandchildren.

You may have known Grandma by another name...Lola, Mama, Manang, being just a few...because Grandma was many things. A loving wife of more than sixty years, the mother of six children, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend. But no matter what we call her, we can all agree on the loving and gracious nature that made her dear to all of us.

Grandma truly was a joy know, with her warm, gentle voice that was perfect for telling stories, her quick wit which always prompted smiles and laughter, the patience and serenity she exhibited at every stage in her life. I will never forget the way her voice would lift with excitement when she said my name in greeting, or how she would sweep in for the hug and kiss before I got the chance to grab her hand to offer proper respects.

Speaking of her hands, Grandma had amazing hands. Small in size, but so skilled and capable. She was known for her skill with fabric and a sewing machine, achieving sensational style with her ability to whip up a new dress in as little as a day. Since my childhood, I was fortunate to see these hands at work--creating all kinds of beautiful things, usually for her loved ones. I am personally lucky to own some of these things, including this beautiful doll she made with black hair and a brightly colored polka dot dress. Her name is Precy, for Grandma. I am also told of Grandma’s miraculous green thumb and her love of bringing ailing plants back to life. She would say, “I love taking care of dying plants.” This made me smile.

In short, Grandma had magic hands. Her touch made the world more beautiful, as did her smile, laugh, and genuine love of life.

Grandma always inspired me. Growing up, I was so proud of the fact that we were both born in January, I felt like, somehow, this made me more like her. And now, after watching her courageous battle with cancer over the past year, I would be happy to be even more like her. Grandma’s vibrant spirit never wavered, nor did her faith and selfless nature. I will always cherish the last time we talked. Between effortful breaths, Grandma asked me about my life. In spite of all the other things going on with her, she wanted to know about me and my future. I know she was tired, but I think she wanted to know that I was happy and that I would be okay.

That was Grandma--caring and selfless always. I am of the belief that Grandma was never scared, at least never for herself. In fact, I’ve never seen her lose her cool. But if she ever was concerned about something, I know it was for those she loved. And something tells me she would want to know that we are all okay, or will be okay.

Losing her is hard, and I will always miss her, but I know I will be okay because I have her spirit within me. From her example, I know what it means to be strong, courageous, and loving. And it is my hope that if we can all remember the things we loved best about Grandma and strive to be like her in those ways, she will never really be gone. I think she would like this, and in this way we can continue her legacy of making this life more beautiful.

Thank you, Grandma, for your life, and for making such a difference in mine.


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For more reading....

To learn about my DIY Wedding Dress, please click here.

To read more about Janelle of Dear Daydream Sewing & Design, please click here.

If you are new to sewing, consider a sewing class with Janelle, or read blog posts related to learning to sew.

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