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  • When my grandmother died, my mother organized a memorial service - a celebration of her life. We gathered ourselves in a hall, surrounded ourselves with close friends and family. Tables were loaded with food, pictures were scattered about the room. My mother, aunt and I all wore purple in her honor.

    As we got seated for the ceremony, my mother handed me a folded piece of paper.

    I'd like you to read this, she whispered.

    As I sat and listened to the story of my grandmother's life, I turned the paper over and over in my fingers. As others stood and recalled fond memories, I opened the paper, read it silently to myself, closed it again. The more people talked, the tighter I gripped my page. We all laughed, we all cried.

    I never stood up and read.

    And for that I am infinitely sorry.

    So I read it here, in honor of the 90th anniversary of her birth.

    I love you Nana Banana.

    [Audio is my reading of the poem "The Little Ship", author unknown]
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