I’m often terrible remembering names and details so it’s surprising how distinctly I can still remember when I heard the news that a loved one died or how vividly I can recall the last time I saw them alive.
Jennie was one of those people. I don’t remember her obituary. I do remember her eulogy no one heard.
Jennie was like another grandmother to me growing up. I saw her almost every day. When she died, I was in college across the state line. I remember riding the first bus home for her funeral. It was dark, rumbling down the worst route on the overnight express. Fortunately, no one was sitting in the seat next to me as I curled up in both seats and let the tears go. My mind was moving down old backroads too. Memories bumped along and by the time the bus pulled into the station hours later I had drafted my own version of Jennie’s life in my head. Not an obituary. More of a eulogy.
It was morning when I arrived at my parents’ house and I sat down to get the story out.
I typed and cried and typed and cried. Even while I punched the keys, I knew there really wasn’t anywhere for “my” Jennie story to go. It was too long and not the right style to be published in the newspaper. It wouldn’t be read at the funeral either. The service would be simple. The minister in the small church that sat on a hill between two cornfields would give a sermon and talk about how Jennie was never on the cover of Time magazine. I’m sure he made the connection that she was still special, but he had already lost me.
I did bring a folded copy of the piece with me to the funeral. At the luncheon, I gave it to one of Jennie’s daughters. She loved it and that was that.
I know/hope I have Jennie’s story in a file somewhere. Like the night on the bus, I can still recite much of it in my head 40 years later. That’s how much impact the woman who didn’t make the cover of Time magazine made on my life.
Jennie died in 1981 and today, finally, I have a way to share my love for her with others on Epilogg.
Epilogg is like an evolving eulogy; a place where memories like mine can be part of the historical record of a person’s life. So far beyond an obituary, Epilogg can be a mixture of images, experiences, events and memories from a whole community. Whether your loved one recently died or passed away long ago, every story can be added at any time and is an important thread of the entire Epilogg fabric.
While Jennie’s full life story has found a new place to bloom, the one thing I know for sure is that my small patchwork of memories will be there and end the same way it did decades ago:
“…and in the spring I will plant roses for her because she loved roses.”