Friday, August 27, 2010

A Eulogy

I spent my morning at a funeral today. I've been to many funerals over the last few years.  I gave the eulogy at this one.   In honor of my grandmother, who was a fantastically difficult woman but who never failed to inspire me,  here is her eulogy. She is the little girl in the picture above.  The house behind her was her family home The Newton-Allaire house.  I know her ghost has gone home to the house she loves now.

My grandma Kay, Kathleen Allaire,  was a woman with a personality that was larger than life. Whether you loved her or hated her, she always made an impression and nobody ever forgot her. Even those who met her only in passing were marked by her strength of will and her passion, even up until the end.



As a child, my best memories of my grandmother were in her spectacular house. The Newton-Allaire house has been in her family for 140 years and she spent her life renovating it and turning it into a proper Victorian mansion. To me, she seemed like a dowager empress in the old house. We would drive for hours to reach her in the very North of Michigan and there we would find her waiting in her mansion amongst the old trees. I loved the summers I spent up there with her in her house with all of my family around me. They are some of my fondest childhood memories. During these visits, I would go up and visit my grandmother in her room and she would always give me candy and tell me stories. She talked about her days as a teacher or her days as an actress. We shared our passion for ghost stories and history. While I was up there, I went through her large library of ghost stories and horror stories. She nurtured a love for all things haunted and old and beautiful in me, which I still have today.


Even in her last days, when I visited her in Harbor Chase Assisted Living or in the nursing home, she would always share stories with me. On one of my last visits to see her, she talked about her childhood in Detroit when Detroit was beautiful and grand. She told me about how she convinced her mother to let her take the street car to the old opera house to see shows. Her mother let her go only if she was with her older sister, Miriam. Together they would ride the street car as often as my Auntie Mimmie would take her and my grandmother fell in love with the theater. It is not surprising that she loved to act and that performing was one of her great passions in life. To me, she always seemed like she was on stage. I will miss her. 

8 comments:

telos said...

You are a very good eugooglizer.

Autumnforest said...

That was so precious. She was very very lucky to have such a granddaughter. You did a brilliant job. I am sorry about your loss. The memories will hold you forever, though, I suspect.

Pam Morris said...

my condolences to you but what wonderful memories you have of your grandmother...she shared some of her favorite things with you and you are now able to share them with us. she is living on through you...how very special!

pr0udmom0f3 said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. But you have eulogized her in such a lovely way. She must have been quite a gal!

Jessica Penot said...

Thanks all! She really was quite a gal.

Elk999us said...

Please accept my deepest condolences,Ms.Penot.She sounds' like a very remarkable person..

Brenda Hooser said...

Jessica,

What a beautiful eulogy for such a beautiful, wonderful woman! She is quite proud of you, to be sure! How lovely you had the lovely opportunity to spend time talking, listening, and sharing time for those last lovely memories and stories.

Cyberhugs and cyberlove,
Brenda

112121 said...

Jessica, I'm very sorry for the loss of your Grandmother Kathleen. She sounds like she was a great lady.

Here's an update and a little history for you. My husband's great-great grandfather was Achibald P. Newton (also related to Sir Isaac Newton and John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace) and as you know he had this home built in 1871 when he married his second wife (his first wife, a Native American Indian had passed away). Now, after 127 years of being in your family the home is back (2013) on the Newton family side as my husband and I now own this amazing home. It has taken quite a few hits throughout the years and we look forward to restoring it to its former grandness. And btw, no ghosts here. Your grandmother is quite happy and at peace with the hands her former home is in now and she is at rest. Great photo!