Anna Bedford

How do you celebrate a life? A long life, well lived? And how do you celebrate a woman? A woman who has given more than she ever took back? These are questions I’ve been asking myself as I put together my grandmother’s living eulogy. She will be 100 this year, and I believe that every life should be celebrated now rather than waiting for a funeral. For don’t we all deserve to hear stories our loved ones tell about us and know how we’ve touched the lives of those we encountered – whether every day or only once? I believe we do. So that is why I’m gathering stories about my grandmother. And my what a beautiful picture those stories tell. My grandmother, a heroine, a legend, a woman who never met a stranger, who was a vault for the most sacred secrets, but a fountain of recipes that were so good they brought entire communities together. Her home was a refuge for many. Never once did she have an empty bedroom. Children, grandchildren, cousins, friends, even strangers were welcome. Like she felt welcomed on the shores of New York, she made sure others felt when they pulled into her driveway—her home was a place to seek comfort, to find opportunities, to meet people from different backgrounds, to just be and be taken care of. Not many people are like that anymore. In a world of technology and playdates, of Facebook and Pinterest, a certain kind of connection is lost. The kind of connection that people have when they live in a community and strangers are friends and friends are family. That was the kind of community my grandma built, and it will be her legacy for many years to com.