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.