I wrote this eulogy for the funeral of my beloved grandmother, Rose, who passed away last Friday:
To celebrate the life of Rose Manney is to celebrate a life well-lived. Rose approached her life with a never-ending sense of enthusiasm.
After leaving the small farm community of White Hall, Wisconsin, she followed her girlhood dream of becoming a nurse. This was a profession she approached with pride and one that suited her well. Rose always knew how to make all of us feel just a bit better, a little happier, a lot lighter.
She approached her marriage to Howard with the same level of enthusiasm. When they had completed their family by becoming the proud parents of Mark, they moved out to the farm and built a life that was a constant reflection of their dreams. They created what can be called, quite simply, a "home", in the best possible sense of that word. Their home was a home to all, as friends were always welcomed with open arms. Days were filled with endless smiles, laughter, and good times.
Those who spent time with them on that farm must have come away with a sense that their lives were just a bit nicer for having known Rose and Howard. Rose generously and enthusiastically reminded us all, without saying a word, that life is lived only once and is to be lived to its fullest.
Rose was fortunate. Those good years on that farm lasted decade after decade. Her life was long just as it was good. Her sense of enthusiasm continued far beyond her retirement and into her later years. Even long after the love of her life, Howard, passed away, she embraced each day and took advantage of every opportunity life presented her. She traveled the country with friends, she traveled alone to visit one of her two grandsons across the country. Now into her upper 70's, she even took a few colorful trips with her grandson to Europe...eating pizza on a beach in France, dancing to the point of injury at his wedding, and finding a unique and endearing place in the hearts of everyone she met along the way. Even half a world away, many lives were deeply influenced and inspired by her.
Her last few years were difficult only because, even as she approached the age of 90, Rose still wanted to entertain, tell stories, laugh, and dance...though she no longer was able. That was the part to be mourned.
So as we spend this last day in mourning together formally celebrating the life of Rose Manney, the truth is that each of us will wake up tomorrow with lives that are just a bit better, a bit happier, and a bit lighter simply because Rose was a part of it. Let us take a moment to remember the exact sound of her laughter. Let us go forward inspired by her openness, her joy, her enthusiasm. She has a lot to be proud of. The life of Rose Manney was a life well-lived.