Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In Memory of Grandma Peppa

I wanted to share the words that David spoke at his grandma's memorial service, just as I posted what he said at his grandfather's service four years ago. I'm so proud of the kind of grandson that he was and is, and I'm grateful that he had such wonderful grandparents.

Here's his tribute to Grandma Peppa (and a few photographs):

I think this was her kindergarten photo.

High school photo

For 38 years, my grandma has bragged on me.  So today is my opportunity to speak to you about the kind, strong, and hard-working woman I called Grandma.

With David's grandpa Gene, first year they were married
I have always found comfort with my grandma.  She was calm, patient,  and always there when I needed her.  When I was a child it could have been as simple as a scrape on my knee from sliding while playing baseball or a cut on my face after trying to use grandpa’s razor.  She was there to clean me up.  As I got older, she was there for me when I needed a few bucks for a new baseball cleats or just someone to talk.  

Posing in front of a their car--I like her Audrey Hepburn look here.
Grandma was always kind and reminded me to look at the bright side.  Her positive energy seemed to light a room and make those around her better for knowing her.

with David's mom when she was little
Those who spent anytime around Grandma, you know she always kept herself busy, from cleaning around the house to working out in the yard.  Grandma took pride in her work and left no task undone.  I have seen her clean places that I didn’t even know could draw dust, and I have seen her rake leaves that hadn’t even fallen yet.  I remember when I was 6 or 7 she would put me in the high chair to eat or work on craft project just to make sure I didn’t make a mess around the house. And now that I have a house and children of my own, I have realized I have inherited the “Whillock clean gene” and I like a house free of mess and clutter.

That little baby is David!
I admired my grandma for working all day in the deli at Dillons grocery store and coming home with what seemed to me like a full tank of energy.  She would make dinner, do laundry, and make time to spend with her family.  Grandma never told me she was too tired or busy.  She would play dominoes and Candyland with me for countless hours and read to me before I went to bed. She was selfless and always served the people around her.  

That beautiful plaque says "Grandma, I love you. Love, David." She had it hanging up in her kitchen, and I'm going to hang it up in our kitchen.

As I was growing up, I played a lot of baseball.  My teams would travel the Midwest and my mom, grandpa, and grandma were not to far behind.  Grandma knew how much I loved playing baseball and she loved watching me play.  After a game, win or lose, her words were always of encouragement.  Grandma was always supportive in that way, not only of me, but for all those around her as well.

We threw a surprise 50th anniversary party for David's grandparents back in 2008. This was at the reception at their church.

Grandma always made holidays special.  We would decorate for all occasions, but for Christmas we would go all out.  We would make candy, put up lights, watch specials on TV, and decorate the tree.  It is tough losing someone this time of year, but I am thankful for the many traditions that I now passed down to my girls.

This is the view of the back of David's grandparents house, when you're standing at the lake and looking up toward the house. His grandparents took such good care of their property.

This is how I always picture his grandparents--hanging out on the back patio after working in the yard.
Growing up with Grandma and Grandpa, I used to watch how they would work together.  Whether they were bowling or playing cards, they were a dynamic team.  Grandpa would start a sentence or a story and Grandma would finish it.  Grandpa would call me on the phone, and Grandma would be telling him what to say from the background.  They were happy.  And not once did I hear them say an unkind word to each other.

Dancing at a wedding
Dancing at a wedding
When Grandpa was sick, Grandma stayed strong.  She fought side by side Gene as he battled cancer.  She took care of him down to his dying breathe.  Afterwards we told stories, we cried, and as much as she missed him, her faith, family and friends kept her strong.

With Baby Coco.
Grandma always told me how blessed she was to have a loving family and such great friends.  I think that is what I valued about her the most.  She taught me that relationships take work, that they require nourishment.  But she made it look so easy.  She said they she always looked for the good in people and they found the good in her.  She loved others and they loved her in return.  She always made her relationships with family and friends a priority.

with little Zuzu
After being diagnosed with lymphoma two years ago, Grandma battled through several rounds of chemo treatments.  Again, her strength to fight came from faith, family and friends.  In early September of this year, she was cancer free.  She began to live again.  
Kissing Zuzu in May 2013
She came to Saint Louis to watch me pitch in one last game and I was able to take her to a post-season Cardinals game.  

at the Cardinals game in October 2015
After watching David pitch the championship game in October 2015
She also found a friend in Harold, who in my opinion was heaven-sent because too soon we learned her cancer had returned, and she would need his support for her final journey.

in Grandma's kitchen at Thanksgiving 2015. Gma's friend Harold is on the end.
After her cancer returned, she knew her time was going to be short.  Grandma told me she was selfish because she did not want to leave her family and friends.  I can very much relate, as I too am selfish. I did not want to lose my grandma.  But today she is home, at home with her Lord and Savior, her parents, her brothers and sisters, my Grandpa Gene and I know she is taking care of my angel Eliza, just like she took care of me for so many years.  

She asked me to tell all of you here that she loves you and don’t worry about her, she is safe in heaven and she will see you again someday.    


  1. Brooke that was beautiful. When I got to the part about her taking care of Eliza, I just started crying. I see my grandpa taking care of my grandma and his first wife and son that passed while she was 8-9 months pregnant (both at the same time.) It gives me comfort to know they are all together.

  2. Just amazing. Of course I am smiling through my tears.

  3. Oh my gosh. Beautiful words. The Eliza part brought tears. <3

  4. So much love. May we all love and live a little more like Grandma Peppa

  5. So beautiful and sweet - I held it together until the end when he mentioned Eliza. :'-) Grandma Peppa sounds like a really special lady. Much love to David and your whole family as you hold her in your hearts this holiday season and always.

  6. She sounds like a beautiful person. And OMG that is a Zuzu face in the toddler photo of David!

    Gma Peppa sounds phenomenal and I love the idea of her cuddling baby Eliza. <3

    1. Do you mean the toddler photo of David's mom? There's definitely a resemblance there!

  7. So beautiful. It took me back to hearing my cousins eulogy for our grandmother, so I pretty much bawled from word one. As Caroline said, I hope we all love and live a little more like Grandma Peppa! (And can I just say how impressed I am that he never heard his grandparents say an unkind word to each other?! That's amazing.) I like to think my grandparents and uncles have had a great time filling my little sister in on what she's missed. I like to think that the children who were lost years, decades ago (like my sister Sharon) are the ones who get to meet the babies who we lose today, and show them around, so to speak. Make sure they find other kids like them, the way BLM parents find each other.

    Anyway. I'm again so sorry for your loss, and for all of us who will never get a chance to know her directly. What a gift.

    1. Yes--I love the idea of our loved ones being together, and of the babies finding each other.

  8. I'm so sorry. I too, lost it with Grandma Peppa being with Eliza. But I believe this too, and it brings comfort, even though I know our babies don't need taking care of in heaven because they are perfectly taken care of. But I told my Papa when he got to heaven to make sure Bear knows how much I love him.
    What a difficult honor for David to speak at the funerals-you must be proud. xoxo

    1. Very proud! He got pretty choked up a few times during this speech, but he did a wonderful job of honoring his grandma.

  9. This is lovely Brooke. Lovely in that I'm so sorry for your loss kind of way. She sounds like the best grandma one could have xox

    I too loved the part about Eliza, and her taking care of her. I feel like Julie in that no one needs "care" in heaven because it's just all inclusive in itself. But I do feel an overwhelming feeling of comfort and almost euphoria in the thoughts of our loved ones passing and being "met" by those we love already in heaven. I know my dad scooped Alexander right up, and made sure he transitioned ok. And the same goes for when Daniel's grandfather died -- I know his 2 babies who passed in their infancy made sure their father was wrapped in so much white light and love as he passed on. And same goes for Eliza meeting Gma Peppa at the gates.

    Oh, I'm crying now.

    Sending my love to you and David xox

  10. I love seeing Gma Peppa boogie and all these beautiful memories you have with her. I bet you will cherish those pictures of her holding two of your daughters. xo