May 30, 2020

My grandmother, Mary Bertille Walsh, passed away 20 years ago today - May 30, 2000. When I was a small child starting out in Chicago, Illinois, we lived just a short distance away from my grandparents. Whenever we drove over to visit, when we were arriving AND when we were leaving their house again, "Grammie" would use this two-handed wave to greet us or wish us farewell from out on her driveway. She'd put both hands high up over her head and wave them back and forth enthusiastically. We used to call this "the Grammie Wave," and we still talk about it today in my family. After she died, I think around 2001, I wrote this lyric in tribute. Today, I share it again to remember my grandmother with love. 


I remember, Mom, piling in the car

We never had to go too far

Huddled in the backseat watching you

Drive down Forest Avenue

In blinding snow, in pouring rain

She could keep the clouds at bay

When the day was over

And we'd drive away

We'd look back for the Grammie Wave. 


Now you left us under her command

When you and Dad went to Japan

Orange Crush and candy grahams

We're wiping chocolate from our hands

She'd get us up and put us down

And take us all around the town

I remember it like yesterday

We were swimming in the Grammie Wave. 

Incredibly the time has passed

And Grammie now has breathed her last

We're standing here on quaking knee

To hear my uncle's eulogy

And in the presence of the Lord

We send her off to her reward...

But even on that final day

We were cleansing in the Grammie Wave. 

There's no escaping rolling time

So we carry on the family line

Remembering what used to be

I feel her here inside of me

And suddenly, I don't know how,

My mom is a Grammie now

Standing by the door with both hands raised

It's in her blood, the Grammie Wave. 

Can you picture this? On the other side

One day when all of us have died

We're stepping forward one by one

To stand up for what we have done

And maybe through a massive Grace

We might reach that Eternal Place

Where on a golden road from far away

We'll be greeted by the Grammie Wave. 


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