When I was a kid, some of my best memories involved me being outside playing. And one thing I remember very clearly was always keeping an eye out for my Grandma Jean’s little red Honda Civic. I knew if she was coming by there was a good chance she was there to pick us up and take us to the beach for the weekend. At that time my grandma lived for the weekend. She was a free spirit and she did what she wanted to do. At that point in my life there was nothing better than leaving for a weekend with my grandma. While driving there she would ask my brother and I which way we should go: the short route or the scenic route. It made no sense to us— we always wanted the quickest way to get there. But sometimes she would just take the scenic route anyway. That’s who she was. She appreciated spending time with us, and she lived in the moment. Of all my memories of her, when I think back on them, I see her the exact same way. She truly NEVER aged. She had a young, vibrant soul. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you a funny story. Two days prior to her passing, I was sitting at her bedside, trying to talk to her as much as I could. She was able to talk a little, but you could tell it was hard. She mostly just listened to us and acknowledged us here and there. I realized that her birthday was near, so I said, “Grandma, you have a birthday coming up.” Her eyes quickly opened, and she perked up a little and said, “I know, I’ll be 29!” We were all in disbelief. We laughed so hard. In case you didn’t know, every birthday my grandma had she said she turned 29. And no one ever questioned that. Grandma was different. She wasn’t like anyone else I’ve ever met. She taught me so much and her opinions meant so much to me. For example, Grandma didn’t vote based on who was Republican or Democrat. If you asked her how she chose who she was voting for, she would tell you, “I vote for the person… the person that they are.” She didn’t need anyone telling her how to do anything. I was always impressed by her. Above all, she was an extraordinary grandma. I honestly could go on for days about how she had perfected being a grandmother. That is how I knew her, since she was my only living grandmother I ever knew. But having her as a grandmother was like having 10 grandmothers in one. I am here today telling you these things because I feel like I owe her so much. If you were really close to my grandma, and you were lucky enough to be loved by her, then she always told you how much she loved you. Not once or twice, but hundreds of times over your lifetime. While writing this speech I realized that if I had to think of one thing that she was known for, it would have to be that. I think her favorite thing to do was tell the people she loved how much she truly loved them.
Her final days will live with me forever. Those of us that were lucky enough to be with her during the last two days will forever have a couple of funny stories to tell. My favorite part was her scratching my head. We all know she was the best at that. She somehow mustered up enough strength to do it once more. And think about this, in her final few days, she managed to take a helicopter ride to Florida, and die on a holiday. That’s the grandma I knew: carefree and always on the move. She will forever be my favorite 29 year old.