This is the eulogy I wrote and delivered for my Grandmother, Nancy Golombisky, shortly after she passed away on May 26, 2015. Today, December 26, 2015, would have been her 77th birthday.
We can all learn a lot from the way she lived. Enjoy.
“What then is Appollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
1 Corinthians 3:5-6
This passage touches on the idea that, in life, we all have a purpose. Some of us plant seeds, some of us water the plants; God gives the growth. And when a flower is fully grown, some people, like Grandma, pluck it out of the ground, put it in their hair and say, “Ain’t I pretty?”
That’s how it was for Grandma. She loved life and delighted in it.
Before preparing this eulogy, I considered, “what would Grandma say if she were here today?” Then I realized there wouldn’t be enough time during mass — she enjoyed sharing stories with family and friends too much. Luckily, during a visit with my grandparents in January, 2014, I had the foresight to put my camera on a tripod and record her retelling some of her life stories. This is an excerpt from that video:
Speaking on her life, Nancy said:
“I think that I have a lot of interesting things to say … You go to bed at night and you think, I need to write about myself. What I remember, what I first remember. My farm life. My marriage. The places that we’ve gone. The places we’ve seen. The states that we’ve been to. And about my family and my kids. And then you think, who really cares?! If I did that for all my grandkids and my kids to read, would they really find it interesting?”
You’d be surprised, Grandma. Anyone who has ever felt touched by Nancy’s love can recount a favorite memory with her. Personally, I can’t decide which memory that is. All I can say is that many of my fondest memories in life involved visits with Grandma. She was always there for us. No matter how small or large the occasion — fireworks at the lake, baseball games, music recitals, dinner parties, birthdays, graduations, holidays, card games, summer vacations, first communions — Grandma always made herself available to share time with loved ones. She truly embodied a family-first mentality, and “family” was often a loose term that included extended family, close friends, the local community and an exchange student from France. She was an incredibly loving and equally loved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt and friend.
Now, I said I couldn’t really pick a favorite memory, so instead I’ll share my favorite story from her early life, which is about how she and Grandpa met.
The short end of it, if I were to recite it in a polka rhyme, would be: Nan met Dan when Dan hired Nan to play in Dan’s polka band.
Grandma met Grandpa as a young farm girl in Owosso, Michigan. Coincidentally, Grandma lockered with Grandpa’s sister, Sharon, for two years in high school. But all Sharon ever said about her older brother was that he was an engineer from Michigan State, and he was cocky. However Grandpa was, it worked. At that time Grandma’s brother, Ben, also played with Dan in his polka band, and when he decided he couldn’t hang with the boys anymore, Ben suggested Nancy play because she was more skilled as a musician. She did, and a year later the farm girl from Owosso milked her last cow on April 21, 1956, the morning of her wedding. Music brought Grandma and Grandpa together, and for the next 59 years music remained the heartbeat of the Golombisky family.
I think it’s appropriate, then, to say that Nancy’s life is comparable to your favorite song: it ends too soon and all you want to do is replay it.
She left an incredible, loving legacy through her husband, her sons, David and Greg, and her grandchildren. And that legacy can be summarized by the joy and zest in which she lived, loved and snorted ... I mean, laughed.
If Grandma were here today, I believe she’d say, “Stay close to your family; cherish your time together; and if life gets you down, just play a little polka and do a little dance.”