When they cleaned out her room she still had my business card tucked into her mirror. I debated on how to share this, but ultimately this blog felt perfect because as you will read in my remarks below my Nana was the first person to ever invest in my business. I was honored to deliver this at her funeral, and I felt it the lessons were a good reminder for us all.
Thank you all for joining us today as we celebrate the life of Susan Thompson Uphoff. For the last 3 decades I’ve had the honor of calling her Nana.
We had a special thing. We were the best of buddies ‘till her final breath and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dying means you lived, and I remain incredibly grateful that life was with us.
Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing my Nana knew almost instantly what she held most dear. Her family.
I can go back to that “perfect napping sofa” on Staffershire rd. , laying in her lap while she read me the Secret Garden. I can still smell her Christmas tree cookies baking. I can see her smile while she curled her hair in the mirror, as I sat on her bathroom floor painting my nails.
Memories of her driving me to physical therapy almost every single day - even when she decided that driving wasn’t the safest activity for her to be doing. The day she helped me buy my first camera, that allowed me to start a career to which I’d spend the next decade freezing memories for people a 7th of a second at a time.
I’ve been reflecting on our time together and a few themes run throughout.
At the end of the day all you have is your good name, so use it well, stay true to it and never lose sight of how important it is.
Your house is a HOME. Greet all your guests with a warm hospitality, create a space they feel welcome. Use your table to bring people together of differing mind and spirit. Create a space of refuge for all who enter your home.
You can be a lot of things in this world, and you should always work to be the best version of yourself, but just don’t ever let that stop you from being grateful. She challenged every one of us to embody this value. She was always so grateful to be able to share a meal with you, enjoy a conversation, exchange an email or give a hand-written card.
A last lesson through these final days with my nana have taught me is that a life well lived will bring those you love back together one final time as they say goodbye...to remember the good times, the tough times, the lessons, but most of all...the love.
I leave you with a challenge as my Nana was always good at doing the same with me. I challenge you to think about ways you can embody these lessons in your own life. Ways you can keep your integrity high, make your house a HOME - for ALL who seek its comfort, and for ways to live a life in gratitude.
Thank you. Thank you for being here, thank you for being you, and for being part of our family’s story.