By Heather Nelson
This is the eulogy I shared at my Granny’s funeral on February 10, 2020.
Kathleen “Kathy” Enzolera — Born October 22, 1947; died February 3, 2020. Nurse, sister, mother, grandmother. A woman of faith. A bookworm. A friend.
The best “sick” days were spent at Granny’s. The kind of sick days when you didn’t want to wake up — or go to school. The days when you knew Gramps would be out driving the bus. The days when Granny would do everything to pamper you. Granny allowed us to drink pop, — she said it helped her upset stomach — made us sugar-y French Toast, and took us out for Happy Meals. But while Gramps was home you were “sick.” (This meant you better be resting on the couch or, even better, in your bed.)
For as long as I can remember, Granny and I were close. She babysat all the grandkids (with Gramps’ help). She came to dance recitals, soccer games, band concerts — you name it. She took all of the grandkids camping. And, as Granny’s do, let us get away with everything.
Granny knew it all. I shared with her stories I wrote, the latest gossip, what books I was reading, my dreams, my failures… everything. Granny always guided me (and all the other grandchildren) to find purpose in life. She wanted me to earn success, but she also wanted me to love what filled my days.
As of recent, Granny was excited to see her first granddaughter plan a wedding. The proposal, the ring, the dress — Granny loved hearing about it all. (She loved my fiancé, too.)
My gran loved her job. Everyone knew how much she loved caring for her babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). My sister and I heard about her babies so often that we started sending her to work with art to decorate the hospital. Granny loved that job, and reluctantly retired. Aside from her work, Granny loved dogs, books, camping, and traveling on cruises and to the Lake of the Ozark with her family.
There was barely enough room on the bed in the fifth wheel (on camping trips), but Granny said we fit perfectly like “puzzle pieces.” This became a running joke between my sisters, Gran, and me. I remember staying up late to watch Disney movies while Granny finished another novel. I admired how she blazed through books. I wanted to do the same someday.
I loved my Granny. I loved the way her perfume smelled; the way she waved goodbye; her hugs. I often describe Granny as sassy, fun and sweet. Sometimes she spoke like a truck driver, but she scolded me if I burped out loud. (It was not ladylike.) Granny always knew how to make you laugh, make you feel special. Every birthday, she called and left a “Happy Birthday” voicemail. (She sang even if she hated her singing voice.) Granny supported every endeavor I pursued. She shared her opinions on the matter, too, even if I didn’t care to hear.
I am deeply thankful to all of our family, the nurses and doctors, her friends who deeply cared for her, loved her, and spent time with my Gran these last few months. Granny hated the hospital, but her frequent visitors helped pass the time. My Gramps not only stocked up on all her gluten-free goodies, but dealt with her sassy self for more than 53 years. That’s love, friends. And to my mom and aunt, who helped Gramps take care of Granny… your compassion and loyalty is admirable. I only hope to do the same for my family.
Gramps had a few jokes on Granny’s behalf. First, he swore that when Granny was mad, she’d hit him over the head with a frying pan. We believed this. And second, his joke for the days when Granny was away when he watched us. We’d ask, “Where’s Granny?” And he’d tell us, “Out back fishing.” As gullible as we were, we always looked to see if she was there.
And on the days ahead, when Granny isn’t around, I’d like to consider her “out back fishing.”