Remarks of Remembrance
Helen E. Thibault
Thank you all for being here to share with us in remembering Helen. Helen valued her relationships with family, she was a daughter, a sister, a beloved wife, a mother, an aunt, a mother-in-law, and as I knew her a loving Grandmother – Grammy.
She was a woman of unwavering faith who valued the church, its teachings, and its community. Helen, was a modest woman, who had strong morals and convictions, and who lived by them – to paraphrase a remark I heard her sister Laurie make, she always “did right”.
As my Aunt Marie pointed out, Helen lived a long life, through challenging and changing times, from the Depression, to World War II, to the Baby Boom and beyond. She experienced the impact of these world events as well as the personal struggles and joys, - the ups and downs of life - and felt them all deeply.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Grammy’s love of reading; novels, biographies, the Globe – always learning- or her enviable garden of blooms. We will all miss her unsurpassable apple pie crust, and the comfort brought by a bite of her chocolate chip cookies.
I admire her travels, whether it was stories of she and Grampy packing up the kids for some time at the beach, or to theme parks with grandkids – where she always rode the thrill rides, romantic getaways with Grampy to Hawaii or on a cruise, the adventures of church trips across Europe and Canada, and in later years, relaxing visits with family.
But what I keep coming back to, what I am hearing repeatedly from others, what is evident throughout her life, is that Grammy loved - and was loved- by her family.
She and her husband Joe – Grampy, loved each other immensely, I’ll remember how she carefully prepared cups of tea for Grampy after dinner, and secretly reading the greeting cards they wrote to each other displayed in the living room, full of personal, handwritten, sweet, romantic sentiments, which sometimes caused me to blush and cry simultaneously
We were all blessed by her unconditional love and support. She welcomed new family members – children, nieces, nephews, spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, expected or a surprise- biological or otherwise – lovingly with open arms, happy to share in their lives.
She was always connected to her family; she looked forward to and recounted excitedly her frequent trips to the movies with her sister, Laurie. She sent cards at every holiday, and even learned to email. Her telephone conversations were prolific – she had a regularly scheduled nightly phone call with her daughter Janice. My cousin Erica reflected on their 2-hour long telephone gab sessions, and I’m sure Gram loved every second of catching up.
She let you know that you were important, that you were cared for, my mother remembers Grammy never ended a telephone call without saying I love you. I am sure many others here today have memories of her detailed conversations, how she delighted in hearing about your recent updates in life and telling you about her own.
She was always there along the way to share in our triumphs, comfort us through illnesses, and support us through hardships, no matter what.
We all had special moments with her, whether she stood proud with you at first communion, an athletic contest, a concert, your graduation, your wedding, or simply read a story with you, played a game, took you to the movies, went to the park and pushed you on the swings, or lovingly gave you a hug. In her final days she was tired, preparing for rest, but was still Wowed by a photo of her great-granddaughter, Emily, on her way to prom.
Many more special moments will come in our lives, I hope we all know that she is proud of us, that her spirit is with each of us, through successes, and trying times. From Gram’s life, let’s take with us the importance of family, of connection, of opening our arms, and loving without conditions.
May we be at peace by the knowledge that her love and care for other was returned, that she was cared for and surrounded by family through the end, that she is rested, without pain, and together again with the love of her life.
May we live our lives to love, remember, and honor, Helen, Mom, Grammy.
Remembrance eulogy given May 16, 2014 by Jackie Knoblock