In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.
-- Tennyson, from In Memoriam
Not long after I became a mother, my grandmother shared this with me:
“You know it's so funny, I can tell you something right now. What my mother went through, [when I was] a mother I went through. And then your mother is a mother, what she went through, now you're a mother, you went through [it, too]. See, that goes right around and right around and right around, from generation to generation, it will never stop, 'cause that's the way this world is.... That's the way it is.”
“I'm proud,” she said. “I have healthy and strong children.”
In her children, her grandchildren, her great-children, in everyone -- she had so much
In the last decades of her life, she maintained this hope, and found the joy in little
She had birthday parties at which she was celebrated as the “Queen Mother” (or the
“Queen of Portugal,” as she joked on her 93rd birthday).
She had her green thumb, which continued to nurture seedlings to reach ever higher
toward the sun.
She had a spark. She used to say, “I feel sixteen inside. The body is old, but the mind is
She had sweet memories of the golden years spent with her husband. Chester Jr.
continued his father’s tradition of spontaneously scooping Eva up in an embrace and
dancing with her in the kitchen. “When she twirled,” he remembers, “she twirled.”
Perhaps even now, she and her husband are dancing to one of their favorites, “Red Sails
in the Sunset” -- “oh, carry my loved one home safely to me.”
She had conviction. There was nothing she would not do for anyone who needed help.
Throughout her life, her prayers were always for others. She was always praying for
those with problems, that God would change their hearts, and make them good. She
forgave and forgave and forgave and forgave. She never stopped hoping for change.
She just wanted us to be good to each other. She just wanted us to be happy. It is what
she would want of us today.
The testament of a life well-lived is that it has been lived in love. Eva, mom, grandma, great-grandma, sister, auntie, cousin, friend -- your life was a good life, and your love...will live on in us.
My love involves the love before;
My love is vaster passion now;
Tho' mix'd with God and Nature thou,
I seem to love thee more and more.
Far off thou art, but ever nigh;
I have thee still, and I rejoice;
I prosper, circled with thy voice;
I shall not lose thee tho' I die.