Grieving 2.0

Please don’t let the title scare you off… If “I am what I share” is true, then I simply must write about the emotionally charged week I just had in the hopes someone may gleam some strength and inspiration from my post.

Having lost my 86 year old amazing Babcia (Polish for Grandmother) to a sudden stroke on Hallowe’en evening this past Monday, as the eldest grandchild, I had the honour of preparing and delivering her eulogy at the funeral on Thursday. If you knew my Babcia, Kazimiera Mizaek, cramming all of her life’s experiences and character traits into a 15 minute address was no small task. I have never written a eulogy before, so I did what most would do to get started and conducted an online search for ‘writing a eulogy for grandmothers’. The results were very helpful in that they gave me a great start point. But then I got to thinking: I am not the only one who was inspired by my Babcia’s life; surely there were others.

So, as a connected educator and citizen, I tapped into my social network via Facebook by posting this on my wall: “I have the honour of preparing and delivering my Babcia’s eulogy at her funeral tomorrow and could use some help from family and friends. If you had the pleasure of meeting my Babcia, pls post memorable Babcia moments, sayings, etc… here. Thank you/Dziękuję :)”

Literally within minutes, family and friends were sending me anecdotes, stories, memorable Babcia moments and thoughts of how my Grandmother left lasting impressions on their lives! I had all the content one could ever dream of…

Stitching everyone’s ideas together was the only thing left. For some reason, once I read over what others had to say, the BIG IDEAS of her life rose to the surface immediately, and the eulogy flowed from my tears through my fingers. I even included a few lines in Polish thanks to my aunts (aka Ciocias) at the visitation. I wanted to make Babcia proud, and convey to everyone just how much she meant to all of us!

As the priest delivered the funeral mass, I was anxious to have my turn to tell Babcia’s true story. Finally, my turn had come, and with Babcia at my side (literally and spiritually), I read through all 1600+ words without crying except for the final paragraph!

Until now, I had only leveraged web 2.0 tools for professional purposes, but here was an example of tapping into my social network for something that was so much more meaningful and precious to me. I thank others for ‘being what they share’ with me! Their contributions helped me tell a much more complete story of the life and influence of a remarkable woman named Kazimiera Miazek, born July 25, 1925, who sadly departed from this Earth on Monday October 31, 2011.

Tania

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16 thoughts on “Grieving 2.0

  1. Tania, I’m so sorry for your loss, but I am so glad that you were able to gather so quickly the collective stories to enrich your eulogy and give your grandmother a fitting verbal tribute.

    • Diana-I have to admit, I do not know where I got the strength and clarity from to pull it all off so quickly, but sure am proud of what came to be in the end.
      I guess I know where I get my strength from after all 🙂
      Thanks for responding.
      Tania

  2. First and foremost, my condolences to you and your family. This was a very moving blog. Your experience clearly highlights the power of social network. It’s comforting to know that we have such an amazing support system 24/7. I find strength knowing that no matter what happens, what road blocks I may face, my PLN (made up of family, friends, and other educators) are always there to provide me with guidance and support.

    • Thank you Royan-a little more personal than I thought my blog would be… but, as I am sure you can relate, the more I interact with my awesome PLN, the more I find the lines between the professional and personal are beginning to blur. And this is a good thing!

      Everyday is a learning day and learning can happen anywhere, anytime, and with anyONE. There really is no way to turn OFF the potential of any one person to impact those with whom they interact.

      Pretty powerful stuff!

  3. It’s true a social network helps create real connections between people. As I read your post I could hear you talking as if you were sitting and having a cup of tea with me. (Tears and all)Tania, I’m sorry for your loss.
    I love the line about how you were able to gather the ‘big ideas’ of her life. We all need to remember and help our students understand that it’s through our everyday interactions we show who we are and our character shines through.
    As you know I’ve been struggling with health issues this month. I feel terrible and a little down. Your post is helping me remember that this is not who I am. My interactions as a whole defines me, not just these moments.
    I send you a virtual hug and feel one bouncing back.

    • I have been thinking about you the last little while Angie through these dreaded migraines and set backs. This ‘dark’ period will hopefully pass soon for both of us.

      Just like my Babcia, your actions most definitely define you, but more importantly, they inspire others! I enjoy our conversations together so much, and love learning with you, just like I know so many others do too!

      I know we will get our Angie back soon. Here’s hoping you are on the mend and able to resume normal activities again.

      Thanks for taking the time to respond-your virtual hug was received and boomeranged back to you 🙂

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss! I’m glad that your social network was able to help you out in your quest to write this important eulogy.

    Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time!
    Aviva

  5. Dear Tania,

    Thank you for the ‘personal’ and honest post; I, too, would like to think that connecting with others both personally and professional is how you truly solidify the collaborative relationship.
    I am very sorry for your loss; at the same time, I also want to express how much I admire your strength during such ‘dark’ hours, that you are still able to pull your family together and celebrate the legacy of your grandmother. Such display of ‘leadership’ is, I must say, quite consistent with whom we all come to known as Mrs. Sterling, on the professional level.
    Thank you for the post and I will now have yet another meaningful blog to follow.

    take care,

    Ming

  6. You did an amazing job Tania, It is not easy task to do justice to an amazing woman and 86 years of life that entailed so much. It brought back so many memories from Noranda, to the little back room off the kitchen, to chicken soup with the chunk of carrot, to now and what seemed like ifetimes ago, came back clear as if they were yesterday. It was a generation and an era that deserves the honor you paid to your Babcia in your Eulogy for her, and as she would say God Bless You My Lady.
    Lodz

    • Thanks for telling me how my tribute to Babcia resonated with you. I was really hoping I had included stories that people Polish and Canadian, young and old, big or small could relate to so everyone would have lasting memories of her impact on them.
      Thanks Ciocia!

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