A Day of Reflection

Yesterday, was my grandmother’s wake and today is her funeral.  She was my last living grandparent - I never knew her husband, my Grandpa Rex, because he passed away before I was born.  My grandmother, Margaret Mausser, died in 1989 and my grandfather, Bill Mausser, died when I was 18.  Grandma Gertie lived to be 96.  She lived a full life, with plenty of adversity, but for the most part a positive attitude.  Her experiences were varied and looking at photos during the wake yesterday it was wonderful to see how broad and genuine her smile was.  When she was happy she was truly happy. 

I told my husband last night that when I find myself crying, it’s not only from a sense of sadness at losing my grandmother, but it also  is from a sense of loss of memories of an entire generation. These are the last of those that had the Old World values of their Turn-of-the-Century immigrant parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who came to this country and really built it during the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Opulence.  The Greatest Generation, as they’re known, had a Jack of All Trades of mentality.  They grew up in an age when many people still used real horses for farm labor and clothes were sewn as opposed to being bought from the store.  They knew how to grow their own food, prepare their own food and store their own food.  If something was broken, they knew how to repair it and didn’t just go to the store and buy a new one.  Their families were incredibly important - their children their greatest treasures - not a new house or cars.  God and church were an irrefutable part of life and I think there was a greater belief in something bigger than themselves and the material world we live in now. 

Life was a struggle, but everyone was in it together and the goal was to enjoy the little things and the things that truly mattered - relationships with others and meaningful experiences.  I’m not saying EVERYONE believed this or lived it (my Mausser grandparents, for example, definitely liked their stuff) but most of the people I know from this generation seemed to live by a code of simplicity that seems to be lost in our high-speed, high-expectation, high-strung society. 

As I reflect on my grandmother’s life, it reminds me to step aside now and then from the mad rush and make sure to develop strong relationships, both with others and my higher power.  I want to learn more practical skills so I can do more things for myself  and be of greater service, developing community as I do.  Perhaps most importantly, I want to be better about smiling through it all….

4 comments

  • Paul Schramm

    Paul Schramm

    Beautifully written. She was a great teacher because you learned a lot from her life.

    Beautifully written. She was a great teacher because you learned a lot from her life.

  • TERRIE

    TERRIE Epworth

    You shared the way I felt about my Mother (Grandma Bea to this Epworth community). She moved up here to be with my family in 2003. For the 5 years she became an active part of the Epworth community & Epworth United Methodist Church family before her peaceful departure. She was born the same year as Gertie. Her & Phil Silker were honored by the Governor for their volunterism. I understand more than ever your point of relationships. Things mean nothing if you can't share them. I have lost everyone from that generation, too. With limited family members, I rely on my church family and friendships that have developed since Paul & I moved here 39 years ago. Thank you for your reflections.

    You shared the way I felt about my Mother (Grandma Bea to this Epworth community). She moved up here to be with my family in 2003. For the 5 years she became an active part of the Epworth community & Epworth United Methodist Church family before her peaceful departure. She was born the same year as Gertie. Her & Phil Silker were honored by the Governor for their volunterism. I understand more than ever your point of relationships. Things mean nothing if you can't share them. I have lost everyone from that generation, too. With limited family members, I rely on my church family and friendships that have developed since Paul & I moved here 39 years ago. Thank you for your reflections.

  • Melanie Devaney Music

    Melanie Devaney Music

    Terrie, your mother was an amazing woman! She never ceased to amaze me with her strength and faith. She is still missed to this day. . . . I agree, things mean nothing if you can't share them. We are really blessed to have had such strong experiences with this generation and hopefully we can carry on some of their lessons and pass them along to future generations!

    Terrie, your mother was an amazing woman! She never ceased to amaze me with her strength and faith. She is still missed to this day. . . . I agree, things mean nothing if you can't share them. We are really blessed to have had such strong experiences with this generation and hopefully we can carry on some of their lessons and pass them along to future generations!

  • Kevin O'Donnell

    Kevin O'Donnell Suburban Chicago

    As someone who never knew my paternal grandparents who died long before I was born, and whose grandfather died when I was seven, I identify with your loss. My grandmother lived to be 103 and from her came my sense of the turn of the century generation that built this country. My sense is exactly as you describe it, with one exception. Even if you were a jack of all trades and knew how to do everything, you allowed others to practice their trade or skill. It was part of community and leadership.

    As someone who never knew my paternal grandparents who died long before I was born, and whose grandfather died
    when I was seven, I identify with your loss. My grandmother lived to be 103 and from her came my sense of the turn of the
    century generation that built this country. My sense is exactly as you describe it, with one exception. Even if you were a jack of
    all trades and knew how to do everything, you allowed others to practice their trade or skill. It was part of community and leadership.

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