Patience. Love. Grace.
Ruth Agnes Leggett
March 15, 1925 - August 21, 2015
My sweet, sweet grandmother… how I miss that precious smile.
I had the overwhelming privilege of speaking at my grandmother's funeral this week... it was one of the most emotionally challenging things I have ever done… trying to hold it together on one of the saddest days of my life while also feeling an immense responsibility to represent and honor her beautiful heart and soul. I'll share with you the words I spoke.
It is truly an honor to be here tonight and share in this moment as we celebrate the life of this beautiful woman… this generous, loving, beautiful woman… one of the greatest loves of my life, and I’m sure of all yours.
She was the type of woman whose entire world would stop as soon as you'd step foot into her home... because there was nothing more important to her than seeing you, serving you, and loving you.
Like many others in this room, some of the greatest memories of my childhood were spent with our grandmother. I absolutely loved going to her house. Sometimes we would play card games, or write letters, or wrap presents. And sometimes we would just talk.
She was always baking something spectacular… icebox cookies, caramel corn, peanut butter rice krispy treats, cinnamon rolls… One of my favorites was when she made her homemade dinner rolls… I thought it was so cool when she would let me punch the dough after it had risen. I got to do it 3 times for every batch – and I would sit there and watch it slowly rise, just waiting to pop it again. Such beautiful memories were made in Grandma's kitchen.
I've spent some time in the last few weeks really reflecting on her life, trying to figure out just a few words to sum up the 90 years that her beautiful heart spent beating on this Earth.
I've gone over it in my head many times… and finally have been able to land on three simple words. Simple but powerful words that you can only fully appreciate when you've had the experience of knowing and growing with someone like her.
The first word is Patience.
She has six kids. Thirteen Grandkids. Nineteen Great-Grandkids. One generation leading straight into the next, sometimes within a matter of months.
This woman had kids running through her house for over a half a century. It was a daily event for her, and somehow she completely embraced it, and actually seemed to enjoy it. There were kids tearing up the living room to make tents. Kids wearing plungers on their faces pretending to be Maverick and Goose. Kids setting things on fire… calling 911… requesting 15 different things for lunch. She experienced this generation after generation... and never once batted an eye. She just stood there with a smile on her face offering to do more.
The second word that comes to mind when I think of grandma is Love.
Abundant, unwavering, unconditional love.
All you really have to do to understand it is look around this room…
Look at this family… Look at these people and how they love. How you love.
How you hug. How you smile and embrace each other. How you take care of each other.
Your loyalty. Your commitment to life and to each other.
These are not traits with which people are born. These are traits that are cultivated and nurtured.
In my eyes and in my heart, I fully trust and believe that she is the person who instilled this profound love into each one of us. What an amazing gift that is. Each one of us was given it and each one of us gets to pass it on and share it with our own children and with their children. This abundance of love is what she has created.
It's been kind of a running joke amongst all of her kids and grandkids about who is her favorite… and we all claim to be her favorite.
Honestly, I kind of think each one of us believes we were actually her favorite.
And I think we believe this because that is how she always made us feel. That is how she made everyone feel. It's not because she ever said it. It's because she demonstrated it. Anytime you were in her presence... it was as if you were the most important person… her most important person. Her absolute favorite. It is such a gift to be able to love the way she loved. And what a gift it is to be on the receiving end of that love.
The final word that comes to mind when I reflect on Grandma’s life is grace. In my mind, she completely redefined the word grace. Through her loving, forgiving, generous, beautiful heart, she always showed remarkable, effortless grace.
Patience, love, and grace.
I also have to take a minute to mention her laugh. That infectious laugh. The thought of it instantly brings a smile to my face. It is music to my heart. I hope in all of my life that I never forget that sound.
So today, we need to stand together and celebrate. We need to celebrate our avid baseball fan, our darling Scrabble buddy, our amazing chef, our devoted consumer, buying stamps - sending letters - spreading love… our sweet angel who was there for us to spoil, love, and nurture.
Isn’t it spectacular when you think of everything heaven just gained.
It would have been so beautiful to stand at the gates of heaven on Friday night and see God look at her and say, "You've done well, my dear Ruth. You've done so magnificently well.”