As my lighthouse fades away…

My Grandmother is dying. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia, she is rapidly declining physically. Today I was asked if I would provide the music for her funeral.

I feel like I’m not as sad as I should be, but I suppose I began mourning the loss of my grandmother years ago, as illness took her memories and her good spirits; as the light in her eyes faded- not gone, but distant.

Lela Mae Grove was a lighthouse. We have always joked that she never knew a stranger. She had a presence that drew people close to her and instantly made them feel at ease. More than one occasion we had been out and about and a complete stranger would approach her and tell her deeply personal things about themselves and their troubles. It was as if no one ever viewed her as a stranger, but a friend they hadn’t been introduced to yet.

And so it is no surprise that her home always had the same feeling. Sometimes the house boomed in a whirlwind of people and activity and sharing and laughter. Other times it was a shelter from the outside world. A place of safety and love and care when you needed it. And anyone who ever walked through that door knew that from that point on, they were as welcome as any of us. You’re here, that makes you family now.

She was a force to be reckoned with no matter what the task- and she had many and various tasks. She managed uprooting her parents and moving them to MD when she was 13. She just decided that she thought that was what was best for the family. Found Pop-Pop a job. Found them a place to live. She made up her mind and got to work. It was her way. She was a mother or grandmother to more people than I can count or probably rightly imagine. Far more than her own children and their eventual families. And she did much of this on her own! 6 children. 11 grandchildren. 9 great-grandchildren (and counting). And all of our families, our friends. Outlaws, inlaws, twice removed, friends of friends, roommates who didn’t have family close enough to share the holidays with.

She was a healer of boo-boos. A voice of reason during hard times. A disciplinarian. And probably the best damn therapist I’ve ever had.

She is a lighthouse. And as she passes, her light will not be extinguished. As we continue our lives and sail from her shore, her light will continue to burn brightly, waiting for the day when we follow it back home.

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