One of my mom’s most adorable habits is the saving and mailing of clippings. Anytime she finds an article, a comic, a quote or a photo that makes her think of someone, she cuts it out and sends it to them. Usually she’ll write a little note on the clipping, like “Isn’t this great? Love you!” or “FYenjoyment.” Sometimes when she sends serious or heavy material, she seems to worry that she’s overstepping her bounds, so her notes will say “Take what you like and leave the rest.” or “A little hokey, but I liked the part about personal responsibility.” Sometimes these clippings make it onto my fridge or into a box of keepsakes under my bed, but even if they go into the recycling bin, they still make my day.
When I was cleaning today, I found a magazine my mom sent me months ago. I flipped through it and a couple clippings fell out. They must be at least 8 months old, because one of them was this obituary, cut out of the Missoula newspaper. My mom’s scribbled message at the top says, “This is the best obit I ever read! Too bad I didn’t know her.”
In case you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, here are some of my favorite parts:
“In an obituary, you generally give the timeline of a person’s life through a list of dates and geographic locations where they spent time. Grandma Fran represents the end of an era. She represents the end of a long cultural and family journey which begins in Ireland and ends in America and this type of ending must be marked with a large sound so that the descendants have the great comfort to remember who they are and where they came from and the ties that bind them. This type of death cannot be summed up in linear dates; it must be understood in the abstract chaos of the Irish.”
“She loved humor, blood relatives, canned food, the Democratic Party, and the sense that you’d better enjoy the moment due to the inevitability of bad luck showing its face. She detested the royal family, corporate greed and Republican dogma.”
“Grandma Fran had in her long life moments of great strength. She gathered the strength to leave her husband to protect her children during a period of time when women could not leave or support themselves.”
“Grandma Fran had in her long life moments of great blessing… Of all the blessings that she experienced in her long life, none were as important to her as her family.”
What an incredible woman. I agree, mom – too bad we didn’t know her.