Today marks my one year blog anniversary. I cannot even believe it! I didn’t know if this hobby would last more than a few weeks, but somehow it has and we are here.
I had a reminder set a week ago to shoot / prep whatever I was going to be posting today in celebration. I wanted to make a cake and dress up and bribe Nick and Otter to take a few pictures with me. Life never seems to go as we plan it though, and I felt that I needed to make a different type of celebratory post today — one that tells you a little bit about a life well lived.
This past Tuesday, my Granny passed away. She was one of my favorite people in the entire world.
I knew that if I got up to try to say anything at her funeral over the weekend, I would quickly become a puddle. But I wanted to write something to be read at the service. The night before Nick and I headed to Dallas to be with our family, my older brother Andrew and I got on the phone for about an hour and threw out every special memory we had of our Granny. From there, I took the ideas, and put them into a format that could be read to a group of people that respected and loved her during her time here on earth.
Remembering Kathy Harmon
We did our best to think of a single story to sum up the love we have for our Granny…and we couldn’t do it. The truth is, it’s hundreds of stories added up over the years that made us love and respect her so fiercely.
Granny always showed up. We lived for Grandparent’s day throughout elementary school because that meant she and Grandad would drive down from Oklahoma to be with us. She never missed a graduation or performance and had VIP seating in the front row at both of our weddings.
Granny was our cheerleader, never discouraging our childhood backyard-antics — when we’d steal our Grandad away from her to help us catch frogs after a hard rain or watch the squirrels go after corn that we had carefully placed on their bird feeder or “rake leaves” which really meant rolling around in them and coming back inside covered in dust.
Shortly after Andrew moved to Houston, he was sitting in a business meeting and Granny called him. Concerned by a call in the middle of the day, he stepped out into the hallway to answer. She wanted him to know that she was watching the Jonas Brothers on t.v. and thought his band was far more talented than them.
Granny was radiant. Kate will always remember her vanity, lined with beautiful jewelry, hairspray, and lipsticks. She could have stolen the attention away from Audrey Hepburn had they both been in the same room. She had beautiful petite hands, and perfect porcelain skin. Every once in a while she would take out her mink coat, and in those moments, we’d all have to question if she had a modeling career that she’d been keeping a secret.
Granny could cook. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals were never complete without Granny’s famous cinnamon rolls and dressing. They were so delicious that we’d eat them for every following meal until they were completely gone. Thankfully she spent some time teaching our mom how to make both of them… no pressure, mom.
Granny also liked to take it easy in the kitchen… and on those easy days, she taught us that Blue Bell ice cream is a perfectly acceptable meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Granny was a woman of routine. Anytime we were visiting Granny in Duncan, we knew that no matter what was going on, we’d need to be back at the house by 1pm because that’s when General Hospital started. We also knew that Saturdays were hair days. Every week, she’d go to the beauty salon and get her hair styled. If you’re lucky, you knew her during her “beehive” days.
Granny was hysterical whether she meant to be or not.
Like the time she accidentally went to see the movie Wedding Crashers with one of her good friends, Pearl, and quickly realized that the movie was not a light hearted Romantic comedy about wedding planners.
Then there were times she knew the content of the movie, but confused the names of them — even some of her favorites, Dr. Opus Loopus and The Devil Drives a Honda, or as you may know them, Mr. Holland’s Opus and The Devil Wears Prada.
She humored us with her fearlessness to speak her mind. She’d be relieved to know that the large majority of you are members of the Church of Christ, and also relieved to never have to know what it’s like to live during a Trump or Clinton presidency.
Granny was a Woman of God. Her day didn’t start without time in The Word and prayer. She knew her Bible backwards and forwards and sought to be like Christ every day of her life. She honored and respected our Grandad as his wife, and nurtured our mom and Uncle Joel as her children. We both understand more and more each day what an incredible gift it was to have loved and been loved by a Godly grandparent like her.
Granny treasured her family. Granny and Grandad called Kate “Mess.” When Vera, Andrew and Brittany’s daughter, came along last Christmas with tons of personality and it was discovered that she too was a red head, Granny declared that she was “Mess 2.” Vera will never have the privilege of knowing our Granny the way we did, but it’s amazing how something as simple as a silly nickname can convey the love she had for her great granddaughter. She also loved our spouses and parents’ spouses. The day each of them became a part of our family, she treated them as though they were her own children and grandchildren.
In our final days, we had the chance to come together as a family. It was the original Pauley foursome and Granny, reminiscing on memories formed throughout the years, and doing our best to encourage her and care for her. She expressed to us that in one of her dreams, she saw a single flower… and our parents’ beautiful kitchen from the 1980s finally being remodeled.
We think the best way we can honor our Granny today is to take out our wallets, and raise some money to help our parents fulfill her dream… just kidding.
The best way we can honor our Granny today is to live in the way she did — with radiance, selflessness, generosity, good humor, and faithfulness. This life is so short, but she did an amazing job at making every single day one that honored The Lord. We’re both so thankful to have been able to claim Kathy Harmon as ours and will miss her immensely.
Thank goodness we have Dr. Opus Loopus to keep us company until we meet again.
Below are pictures of the town my Granny grew up in — Willow, Oklahoma. The population can’t be more than about 150 people, but there’s something magical about it. Maybe my Granny is the one who made it feel magical. We saw the house she grew up in, the building where she worked her first job at a soda fountain, and the streets where she and my Grandad, her high school sweetheart, used to walk together. As weird and hard as it was to see their gravestones next to each other, it gave me tremendous peace. I like to think that they are together again, free of pain and hardship for eternity.
For now I must be going. Talk soon, friends.