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a-eulogy-for-my-grandmother.md (5434B)


      1 title: A Eulogy For My Grandmother
      2 author: Daniel Moch
      3 copyright: 2018, Daniel Moch
      4 date: 2018-03-18 15:37:52 UTC-04:00
      5 slug: a-eulogy-for-my-grandmother
      6 category: personal
      7 description: A eulogy for Jane Marie Moch
      8 
      9 Jane Marie Moch, who I had the privilege for the past 35 years of
     10 calling Gram, was born March 11, 1937 and died this past Sunday on her
     11 81st birthday, March 11, 2018. She's survived by two siblings, her three
     12 children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. She joins
     13 her husband, Norman Moch, who passed from this life a little over ten
     14 years ago. Her death comes at the end of an eighteen month battle with
     15 cancer. That battle would consume her energy, and challenge her spirit,
     16 in the final season of her life. Her family rallied around her, as did
     17 her friends. And the first thing I was asked to say was to convey our
     18 thanks to everyone who either visited her, sent cards, or otherwise
     19 extended their well wishes to her. Those kindnesses were received, and
     20 they were an encouragement to us, and most importantly to Jane.
     21 
     22 If I had to pick one word to describe my grandmother, that word would be
     23 kind. Kindness is not a flashy or impressive word, but it's the one I
     24 keep coming back to as I've reflected since her passing. Jane showed
     25 kindness to everyone she encountered. She forged long-lasting
     26 relationships in this community in part through her kindness. She was a
     27 force of kindness in my life and the lives of so many others. I'd like
     28 to share with you a couple of stories that exemplify Jane's kindness.
     29 
     30 During summers growing up, I would spend time with my brother and sister
     31 here in Dunkirk with Gram and Papa. That was an act of kindness itself
     32 for my parents who were able for a week or two each summer not to worry
     33 about chasing around three young kids. But there were plenty of smaller
     34 acts of kindness Jane would show us kids while we were here: She cooked
     35 for us, cleaned up after us, made spaces for us to play with each other
     36 and with other kids in the neighborhood. Theses were fun times for us,
     37 and they were enabled in large part by Jane's kindness, her willingness
     38 to take on the work of caring for and cleaning up after her
     39 grandchildren.
     40 
     41 There are a lot of stories I could tell you about Jane and her desire to
     42 make everyone around her happy and comfortable. I believe that's a very
     43 special gift and calling that God gives to people, and Jane's kindness
     44 meant that it was a gift she possessed in spades. I could tell you about
     45 how she was always concerned that the people around her be comfortable,
     46 and how she always seemed the most in her element when she had family
     47 and friends gathered around her enjoying one another. Even in those
     48 moments she wasn't the type to make herself the center of attention, in
     49 fact quite the opposite. She would sit back and quietly and watch
     50 everyone else interact. It seemed to be a great source of satisfaction
     51 for her to know that she created an environment where people could
     52 connect and enjoy each other.
     53 
     54 We like to tell stories about heroes, people who touch peoples' lives
     55 and change the world through grand gestures. Heroes are great, but I
     56 think if we stop to reflect, it's rarely the heroes who impact us most
     57 deeply, but rather the people who show us kindness. They're parents and
     58 grandparents; they're neighbors who reach out in needy times; they're
     59 faithful friends who bond over a common interest like Jane did with her
     60 exercise group. They're the people who are just there for us, and Jane
     61 touched our lives by just being there. When I think about Jane's life,
     62 I'm struck by the difference that one person can make in the life of a
     63 community simply by being a faithful friend to others---in other words
     64 by being kind.
     65 
     66 When my daughter was born, my wife and I decided to name her Naomi,
     67 after the mother-in-law in the Old Testament book of Ruth. Naomi is
     68 not a very front-and-center character in that book, but as is so often
     69 the case in Scripture, the name is not a coincidence, but a meaningful
     70 one. It means pleasant, and that is exactly what Ruth's mother-in-law
     71 turns out to be. Ruth's husband---that's Naomi's son---dies, and even
     72 though that must have deeply grieved her as a mother, what we see in
     73 Scripture is her concern for the newly widowed Ruth, and with seeing
     74 her provided for. My point in sharing this story with you is to
     75 suggest that if God saw fit for someone like Naomi to be remembered
     76 forever in Scripture for nothing more than caring about her
     77 daughter-in-law, then maybe it's worthwhile for us to remember Jane
     78 today for all of her simple acts of kindness.
     79 
     80 She may never have expressed it, but I believe Jane knew how important
     81 it was to be kind. It's no secret how faithfully she attended the daily
     82 Mass at this parish. I can tell you how faithfully she prayed,
     83 especially for the people she cared about. She prayed a novena for me
     84 eleven years ago, asking God to let me meet my wife. That same year I
     85 did. Her faith in God ran deep, deep enough to be central to who she
     86 was, deep enough for her to pass it along to future generations. In
     87 other words, I believe that it was because of her faith that Jane was
     88 able to pursue kindness as her calling. She was content not to be a
     89 hero, because she knew she didn't have to be. And if her life
     90 exemplifies anything to me, it's the peace and happiness we can bring to
     91 others if we stop trying so hard to change the world, and just treat
     92 people with kindness.