A few weeks ago, my great aunt passed away and this was the poem read at her funeral. She had written it about her mother, my great grandmother, the woman that I never knew but that left a mark in so many ways in my life. Finding her old box of faded recipes in my grandma’s attic years ago inspired me to go to culinary school in the first place. I wish more than anything she was still around so I could sit across the table from her and tell her just how much she has inspired me…all while nibbling on her famous molasses cookies, the one recipe I can’t seem to quite get right.
My grandma recently sent me a copy of the poem and I just love it because it sums up exactly the image I’ve always had in my head of my great grandma. I love thinking about her in Minnesota, decorating cakes and baking cookies to support her family during the war. She must have only been my age when she found out that her husband had been killed on the front lines, leaving her to support her young children all on her own. I can’t even imagine.
Even though I love the images of the divinity candy, molasses cookies and homemade coats in the poem, I think my favorite four lines are at the very bottom:
So, you see, your life goes on
by the example you set
by what others do
because of you.