Monday, June 06, 2005

Nanny's Eulogy

The last time I spoke into a microphone here at Charlestown, was under slightly different circumstances. It happened this past Christmas when my youngest cousin, Lauren, and I led the family in singing Christmas carols. We took turns calling some unlucky family members up to the microphone to sing a song a cappella. We had a lot of fun that day and we expressed how lucky we are to be family and how much we loved each other.

Today we are here to express how much we love our Nanny. That is appropriate because Nanny loved each of us and being here today is a small gesture to show that we love her back. I think the things that Nanny loved most in the world were her grandchildren. Well, actually the one thing that nanny loved more than here grandchildren was a new grandchild. As the oldest of five grandchildren I found this fact out the hard way!

I had the privilege of having Nanny to myself for the first three years of my life. This was a really good time for me: being showered with attention, and affection, being spoiled with toys and treats, having Nanny listen attentively after saying to me, “Tell Nanny your troubles.” This all came to a crashing halt when my sister Ellen was born. Suddenly, Nanny started fawning over this new grandchild who wasn’t really even doing that much at the time. So, at three years old I asked Nanny why doesn’t she take the new baby home with her since she likes it so much?
A few years later Vincent was born followed by Nicolas and Lauren. With each new birth Nanny would become ecstatic – she could not wait to shower the new baby with love and affection. She would even go so far as to fly across the country to spend some time getting to know and taking care of her new baby. She would say that she was doing it to help out Aunt Christy, but in reality I think that she wanted to be among the first to welcome a new member into the family.

The most remarkable thing about our Nanny was that her love for her grandchildren was absolutely unconditional. She loved to hear about all of the things that we were doing with our lives and she would not hesitate to tell anyone and everyone who would listen about it. She loved us when everything was going great, but she also loved us when things were going bad. She even loved us at times when we did not deserve it. Through it all, the one constant was Nanny’s love.

I would like to say something to my cousins, now. To me, the real tragedy about the way our Nanny’s life ended is that you were not able to experience her love for as long as my sister and I did. I am sorry that her time with you was so brief. I hope that you realize that she loved you with all of her being and no matter what you did, Nanny would have loved you just the same. You can ask your parents about that. You can also ask Ellen or me.

Through her love for her sisters and her children and her grandchildren, Nanny created the family that had so much fun together last Christmas. That family will continue. We will continue, by having a good time, in light of the circumstances, this Easter, this Thanksgiving, and next Christmas. This ability to influence other people’s lives, even after death, characterizes unconditional love. That is the power of our Nanny.

Originally delivered March 14, 2005

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