REMEMBERING BERTILLE WALSH, 1912-2000
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.
THE GRAMMIE WAVE
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.