Care for one another

Today is my granny‘s burial and in a normal time all of our families would be flying in from all over to celebrate her life, but covid makes the world strange. Her death was one of too many in a Texas hotspot so there will be no funeral and my mom and her brothers will watch (at a careful distance from each other) as she goes into her grave on top of my papa.* I’m sad to not be there but so grateful to have a family that puts the safety of others first. We’ll celebrate her life next year when things are safer. The rules are looser during these moments and it’s easier to give grace and space to others as we all find our way. It’s something I hope we carry on when covid is a memory.

My mom wrote the obituary and it’s very lovely. My sister asked why I didn’t write it but then I reminded her that any obituary I write will inevitably include recriminations of all of my real and imagined enemies, several secret codes, clues to a buried treasure and a video of an otter eating cereal instead of a photo and then she was like, “Oh, right. I forgot.” But my favorite part of granny’s obituary was the ending. Well said, mom.

In lieu of flowers, care for one another.

So today, since there won’t be a church filled with people celebrating my granny’s life, let’s celebrate out in the world. Today, tell someone how much they mean to you. Do something nice for a friend or a stranger or even yourself. And if you’re not sure where to start, you can check out Project Night Night, which helps displaced or homeless children. A $25 donation gives a child in need a new security blanket, an age-appropriate book, a stuffed animal and a canvas tote bag. Right now the need is greater than they can handle so if you can help I know they’ll be grateful.

And if no one has told you yet today, I love you.

*As an aside, yes, on top of my papa. They didn’t want to waste money with two burial plots so they just bought one and agreed that whoever died first would be on bottom. Granny was like, “I told your papa he better die first because I don’t want him dripping on me. Ew. I’ll be the one dripping on him, thankyouverymuch” and he laughed because that is totally granny. And my mom and her brothers won’t be alone because I suspect they’ll be there at the burial as well, as granny smugly says, “Well thank goodness that’s settled” and papa laughs as he puts an arm around her shoulder.

I miss them already. And I’m so glad I had them in my life.

111 thoughts on “Care for one another

Read comments below or add one.

  1. My heart goes out to you and your family, Jenny. 😔🙏 Losing loved ones is so painful, and then, with the present circumstances, makes everything feel that much more… complex.

    But… yes, we need to care for each other and tell the people we love that we love them while we still have them. We don’t know how much time we have.🖤

    Hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs hugs.

  2. Thank you for sharing this precious moment. I’m full of happi-sadness as I read your words and remember when my grama passed. Sending so much love and hugs to you and yours. <3

  3. I love your family. Thank you for sharing with all of us and letting us feel like honorary members.

  4. Sending all my love, comfort, and warmth to you and yours. I’ll send some care out into the world today for Joy and everyone who loves her.

  5. I really feel for you. I lost someone close to me recently and I try to maintain focus on all the wonderful things I knew about her and experienced with her. Your granny sounds like a kindred spirit, full of humor and incredible spirit. I’m blowing her and you a kiss right now. Xoxo.

  6. I’m sorry about your Grandma.
    I loved watching your interview last week. I love you and your writing.

  7. There aren’t words Jenny. Well, there are, a lot of them in fact, instead I’m sending you a warm, well distanced, loving hug. Great. Now my eyes are sweating.

  8. My grandparents did that too (stacked), but they were cremated first. I don’t know why we buried their ashes, you’d think they’d want to be scattered….

  9. My Granny was always the most consistently loving person in my life. She died more than 30 years ago, and I still miss her dreadfully and wish that I could call upon her wisdom.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for this lovely essay.

  10. My mom and dad had the same type of plot. Daddy went first and when it was time to bury Mama I found out the receipt for their plot was #6969. I can’t get that image out of my mind and wonder if they are buried the proper way. ew! LOL!

  11. I just donated to Project Night Night in honor and memory of Joy Nell Evans. Thanks for sharing your wonderful Granny with us. I am sorry for your loss.

  12. Just made a donation to project night night in honor of you grandmother. Sending you love.

  13. Jenny, I lost my grandma at Easter and we had the same experience where no funeral was possible, and nobody could be with her in the hospital. I am so thankful for the hospice workers who sat with her and kept my mom and her sisters up to date. Thinking of you and your family and hoping for better days, when we can gather safely, in the near future.

  14. What a beautiful obit! And your grandma’s birthday is the same as mine….10/10.❤️❤️❤️

  15. I lost my dad at the beginning of covid and we’re still waiting to have a celebration of life. It’s hard, especially on my mom. But safety above all so we’ll all still be here when we can finally celebrate him. Sending virtual hugs Jenny ❤️. (And burial dogpiling is totally a thing, here you can dig down a few feet and add your “cremains” (who the fuck came up with that one?) to the grave of your loved one. I’d want to be on top too.

  16. I’m so sorry you lost your wonderful, funny, zombie grandmother. She sounds like a real gift.

  17. Sounds like you may have gotten your sense of humor from your granny! My grandma died in April, on her 100th birthday! Sadly none of us could be there, she was multiple states away and we were all locked down. My aunt was with her so we were grateful for that. She said she’d make it to 100 and she did! BALLER move if you ask me.

    It makes me sad that we haven’t been able to gather to celebrate her but it will happen. Until then, I love your sentiment…it’s so important.

  18. I’m sorry for your loss Jenny – your grandma sounds like a real firecracker. I’m actually in a similar situation – my uncle is being buried today in an other province (we’re in Canada) and only five people are allowed at the funeral so it’ll just be my parents, my two cousins (his sons) and a friend. Last year my family of 5 flew home for my aunt’s funeral which was the last time I saw my uncle – what a difference a year makes! Trying my best to honour those that are by being kind. Thank you for providing comfort and hope.

  19. I am so sorry for your loss and am sending you and your family hugs.🤗 May all the wonsderful memories of your Granny comfort you now. PS – Hailey looks so much like your Granny. Wow.😮

  20. There are two last names in the obituary (Evans and Collier) that I choose to believe mean we’re somehow related, Jenny, and that makes me incredibly happy.

    Thank you for sharing this moment, and letting us be a part of your your family during this time. It matters.

  21. My gram was also buried on top of my Pappy, and before she died she laughed about how she’d finally get to be on top.

  22. I’m sorry about your grandma. My lovely mum died on the same day as her, but we are having to wait a couple of weeks before our last goodbyes. Sending much love to you and yours from the UK x

  23. I imagine your grandmother looking over your shoulder as you wrote this and having a chuckle. I also imagine that her heart was warmed by your love and memories of her. I hope you find comfort in thinking of her and peace in the love of family and friends. I love you!

  24. I’m so glad your granny left you with laughter and love. We need both sorely in these trying times. And yes, they are strange times that make everything feel weird. My daddy died very unexpectedly in March, three days before we went into lockdown. He came from a large family, married into a large family, and was a beloved public figure in my hometown city—but we haven’t been able to have any sort of gathering in his memory. It’s been… hard… staying here with my suddenly widowed mother in lockdown. We’re trying to adjust our old ways of being with each other, with mixed results so far.

    I’m holding you and your family in the light.

  25. Honestly, the double burial thing is really practical. We did that when my brother died unexpectedly at the age of 23. Our grandparents each had a plot side by side, but there wasn’t a plot near them to put my brother. Our grandfather had passed away nearly 3 years prior, so we turned my grandmother’s plot into a double burial as she was very much alive at the time. It worked really well for us.

  26. Sending you and your family hugs. The more I hear about your granny’s amazing sense of humor the more I love her.

  27. Sending you so much love right now. I love the line about caring for one another instead of flowers. It is perfect. I hope that you are able to find peace and some laughs as you remember all of the good times you had with your granny.

  28. Donated! Thank you for sharing this incredibly important work and I am so sorry about your granny.

  29. I will light a candle today and think of your granny and all those who have gone on ahead. Hugs and thank you for sharing your experience. I’m not sure how, but it truly helps with my own losses.

  30. So sorry about the loss of your grandma. In lieu of flowers, care for one another. This might be one of the best sentences I have ever read.

  31. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I lost two family members this year (neither to COVID and both after long, full lives). Both were cremated and buried atop the hearts of their spouses. I didn’t know this was a thing until this year, and I love it.

    My Nanny Ruth died in late September. Tomorrow would have been her 93rd birthday. Sending you the biggest hugs and wondering if our beloved Texas grandmothers are sharing an iced tea right now.

  32. I so love the “care for one another.” I’m stealing that and using it one day. I really wish I had known your granny. She sounds like the best of people. Also, I would have been all in for the secret codes and otter videos.

  33. “And if no one has told you yet today, I love you.”


    That hit me like a ton of bricks.

    Thanks, Jenny.

    I’ve followed you for many years, bought your audiobooks and laughed maniacally while driving down the road.

    I needed that today.

    I love you. too.


  34. Appreciate being able to read this today. Lost my brother on the 3rd to cancer. He was forty-three. I’m coping, and yet I am also so fucking angry.

  35. I’m so sorry you aren’t able to gather with family and friends. I lost my mom last February and we were able to have a service etc. I am so grateful for that. We were planing another gathering this past summer with more family and friends. Instead, my mom’s urn is in her china cupboard in Dad’s living room. Maybe next summer?

  36. Oh Jenny, I can see her in you. Lovely picture and your Mom’s obituary was just right.
    Thinking of you and all the family. Love, me

  37. Such grace and love. Blessings to you and your wonderful family. P.S. We accidentally showed pics of my mom in her underwear at her service. Big hit. Granny Joy reminds me of my mom, Granny Pat.

  38. Jenny, I never knew my grandparents. My parents weren’t particularly good at the grandparent thing. Now I’m a grandparent and am learning how to do it and finding joy in the role. Cherish your memories, hold your family close in your heart. Love who you can. And yes, be kind.

  39. To the person who wrote comment #46: I am so sorry. Cancer is a foul, foul disease. No wonder you’re angry. Please know there is someone out in Internet land who is thinking of you.

  40. Donated to Project Night Night in Granny’s name… as long as her name is “Jenny Lawson’s Granny.” My granny would have gotten a kick out of that. My heart goes to you and your family.

  41. I am sorry for your loss, Jenny, but thank you for sharing these stories. She sounds like the type who would want you to find the humor in all of this. 🙂

  42. Jenny,

    Donation made, and I shall write be writing letters today to let people know I care about them. What a moving obit your mother wrote (though yours would have been great too. Maybe on the anniversary of her death you can write that one and post it here).

    How many people here have suffered losses this year, made so much worse by our separation from those who could comfort us and whom we long to comfort in our turn. To all of us who are trying to grieve during this damnable pandemic, my heart is with you.

  43. Love that your granny was so forward thinking! Not only thinking about drips, but protecting the earth with the more environmentally friendly body stacking. Very European! I still think you and your sister should have put her d.o.d. on the gravestone twice. Sounds like your granny would have liked making everyone do a double-take, but what the heck do I know!

    So very sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was an amazing woman. I would love to hear more Grannyisms when your heart heals a little bit and it isn’t quite so painful.

  44. Peace and love to you and your family. Your grandmother sounds like she was a beautiful and loving soul.

  45. What a beautiful tribute- and so real, too. I’m married to a funeral director, and she loved Granny’s take on burial. How lucky she was to be so loved, and to live on in all of you.

  46. Beautiful obit. I’m sorry for your loss, the photo of your granny looks so much like you and your daughter, and you can tell her spirit lives on in both of you.
    My mother’s cousin just emailed my mom a photo of her mother (my Nana,) and her mother’s sister, (my great-aunt.) They looked exactly like my mother and her sister, and I had to look closely at the 1940’s hair styles and clothing to realize it wasn’t them. My Nana passed away 11 years ago, thank goodness she missed all the nonsense we’ve been living through. My great aunt is 92 and is in the process of passing away, she no longer is conscious of the world since July. Soon she’ll be with her sister laughing and playing board games like chess and scrabble with her sister in the next world.
    We will always have our memories of the ones we love to remember them by, and the universe will send messages from them in little ways if you notice them.
    Hugs to you and your family and everyone who is hurting from the loss of a loved one during this crazy time. You can do acts of kindness if you can’t afford to donate, and you can tell people you care. Sometimes hearing those words mean more than you know.

  47. jenny i am so very sorry for your loss. my condolences to the entire family. your moms obit for her mother was beautiful. you sound like you have your grandmothers sense of humor from what you said about her. in time, her memory will be for a blessing…

  48. Sorry for your loss. Treasure your memories. In military cemetaries, double burials are common. My mom and dad are/were both vets. When my dad dies, my mom made them reserve the spot next to my dad for her as no way, was she going to share a grave and a marker when she was as much of a vet as he was! I appreciate woman of character and verve. Your granny was one of us.

  49. Just know your Granny although gone in body, her spirit lives on. Let her namesake of Joy be your guidepost. Joy is something that we can cultivate in our hearts, and when can find it in the world around us – that’s when we know we are doubly blessed.

  50. I love that obituary – it has hints of many other stories about her life. Your mom did a great job. I’m sorry for your loss, and look forward to whatever stories come from the celebration of her life that you and your family will eventually have.

  51. I love your stores. My husband died in February, the world shut down in March, and my 12 year old and I have been getting through this year together, alone. I come to your site and read your stuff to forget and to remember.

  52. I love you and your family, yet have never met. Much love to you all during this difficult time.

  53. “it’s easier to give grace and space to others as we all find our way….” I need to remember this.

  54. My heart goes out to you and your family, Jenny. Thank you for sharing such lovely memories. I love your mom’s generous spirit! My grandma on my dad’s side died 6 weeks before I got married (she was almost 93 and wouldn’t have been able to attend our wedding, but still…). Our moment of levity happened during the graveside service when my 3-year-old cousin peered into the open grave and almost fell in. Yikes.

  55. Oh, Jenny, love to your and your family. I read the obituary and love love love the photo and the last line. I have never seen such an “in lieu of” and it is incredible and moving. I hadn’t noticed before, but your Granny died on November 9 which was the same day my dad died, in 1993, by suicide. Then my daughter was born on November 9, 2000. And she just turned 20 the day your Granny died. I don’t know why I am even bringing this up but this day has meaning for me and it just struck me when I noticed it in the obit. Hugs to you and yours, and thanks for reminding me to appreciate those I hold dear.

  56. Jenny, I’m so sorry to hear about your granny (I’ve just read all three posts). That’s been a hell of a week for you, but it’s great that you were able to find some humour in the situation. Sending you physically distanced hugs from Australia.

  57. Is there a PO Box where we can have the card sent from our donation to project night night? I want to donate in your grandma’s name. I want them to send the card to your family,

  58. What a beautiful tribute to your Granny…everyone should have such a woman in their lives-I’m off to call family and friends in her memory🥰

  59. Today is world kindness day; how appropriate that you wished for people to be just that honor of your grandma♥️

  60. You and I are among the lucky ones who had grand parents they were close to. Hug your beautiful memories!

  61. Yes, in a military cemetery the plots are stacked up. Frighteningly efficient in resource management. Dad always made us promise that if he went first and Mom second, that Mom would be put in face down on top of him. If she went first, he wanted to be put in face up because she was always behind him. Behind him, as in always late! (But she was definitely behind him in support.) He passed away first. Years later, my brother and sister and I were sorely disappointed that the funeral director refused to flip Mom over in the casket.

  62. When my Dad died at 82, my Mom’s mother, age 100, was still alive but commuting daily to and from the beyond, reporting on her lovely times spent with her mom and the Little Boy in Blue. Mom decided not to mention Dad’s passing to Gram because she didn’t want her to feel obligated to come back and help her daughter cope with the loss. When my sister and I visited Gram a week or two after Dad’s passing, she asked how Steve (my Dad) was doing and we went along with Mom’s story line that he was fine. Gram said, “That’s odd, because I just ran into him over there.”

  63. So sorry and so glad you had her in your life. I didn’t put this in from your earlier post but (a) love her photo, you look like her except I have to say she’s sassier, and (b) in the picture with you all looking at the photo album, is she wearing a Land’s End turtleneck? My mom wore those all the time and seeing that made me miss her all over again.

  64. So sorry about your grandma. I think people just deal with things differently. My mom recently informed me she saved the box my dad’s ashes were in before we spread his ashes. She told me to re-use it for her, so we didn’t waste money. She calls it brown-bagging it.

  65. When my Grandma died, my sister, a close cousin to us both, and I, all stood at the edge of her grave and wondered aloud if they stopped payment on the checks, would they repossess the casket? They paid extra to have the casket extra sealed against moisture (obviously they don’t read the same kinds of books as we do). We wondered if we dug it up in a year, and it had exploded (as they tend to do when sealed totally), would we get a refund? It was. A hell of a lot easier than thinking we would never see her again, never get another hug, never hear her voice. Dark humor is our go-to for all emotional situations.

    Sending you and all of your family much love

  66. What a wonderful obituary! Your granny sounds like she was a lovely person and no doubt she influenced you in your life. How lucky we are to have loved such souls that have crossed our paths. My sweet mother passed away 3 years ago on November 19th and I miss her every day although she is always in my heart. I know, cliché right! But so true. Care for one another should be our mantra in this crazy world. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  67. So many people love you, Jenny. When you said ‘depression lies,’ it saved my life. I hope my grandmas make friends with yours, wherever they are out there. Some days I can’t wait to see them again. Lovec& hugs to you, Victor and Hailey.

  68. What lovely tributes to you granny from both you and your mom. I spent some time in the spring of 1990 temping at Ethicon…I bet your granny was working there at the time. What an unexpected small connection.

  69. I’m very sorry for your loss – virtual warm hugs to you and your family.

    And as usual, you always say the right thing at the right time in my life – in a bit of a rough patch right now, so I really appreciated this post. So, so incredibly grateful to have you and this blog and your books in my life.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you… 🌸

  70. I lost my grandma to cancer this week. She was 93 and had spent the last 3 years in hospice. She was the only person in my life who loved me unconditionally. Like you and your family, we couldn’t have a service. Instead we all talked on the phone, sharing stories about her, laughing, and celebrating her life. I had been trying to find something to do in her memory. Thanks for the suggestion of Project Night Light. She would have loved that!

  71. I’m so sorry for your loss. Reading your stories made me a bit teary eyed – the name Nelda and Nell runs in the family, and my Mother was a Nell. So as strange as it seems that little similarity in name gave me a very needed connection to my family this week and the memories of those who have passed. Love and light to your family my dear.

  72. I want my obituary to end with “and the Denver Broncos still suck” just to piss people off.

  73. I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending much love. I will follow the beautiful mandate to care for others. We could all use more of that in these trying times.

  74. I’m so sorry for you and your families loss. When we loss my daughters father this year they only allowed 9 of us at the funeral home and then buried him at a later date but forgot to tell us when. We were so heartbroken because we were waiting on their call when it would be safe for burial but they just called after and said it was done. I’m so glad you have family there to make sure everything is handled properly.

  75. Peace, Prayers, and Blessings! {*hugs*} So many friends have had someone pass through The Veil recently and it wasn’t related to the pandemic. I’ve sent so many cards this year that I’ve lost track. Each and every one wants me to hold my family closer and yet we must maintain our distance because of the virus. My husband had ALS and his passing with be 3 years on Thanksgiving this year. I live alone and it makes it all that harder for not going anywhere. I’ll be making phone calls as my Mum fell and broke her hip almost a month a go. She’ll be 84 in January and was very active up until then. I have another friend who’s mother did that a week ago and was transfered to a hospital an hour away from her. At least my mum is at home with my sister.

    I’m finally recuperated from my broken ankle and then my glasses broken … in half … when I was cleaning them and have to wait for replacements to come in ….. probably after Thanksgiving …. so definitely do as Jenny’s mum said …. care for one another ….. that includes your neighbors!!!!

  76. I’m so very sorry for your loss. My grandparents were some of the most loved and most significant people in my life—holding my happiest memories and huge influences in who I am today. I love your mom’s sentiment. And we love you, too. ❤️

  77. I so sorry! My grandma passed away in August. Your grandma sounds wonderful! My grandma was always a little confused by the cover of Furiously Happy she would always ask what that raccoon was doing and I would laugh and say he was furiously happy. Grandma’s definitely are wonderful and add so much to the world!

  78. I’m glad there’s comfort in the frankly hilarious way your granny took her leave from this world and the knowledge that precious kids will feel her love even if they never met her.

  79. First time commenter, long time reader. Just wanted to say thank you for being you. I know we have never met, nor likely will but your writing has been a solace. I’ve been feeling depressed and angry and weepy. Trying to just deal with being rejected yet again. And I actually laughed at the dead squirrel story. Something I haven’t done in days. Then I sat here and bawled for 30 min reading that one simple sentence “just in case no one told you today I love you”. And for some reason I believe that you do care about us. I hope this doesn’t come off super weird. I just wanted you to know your writing often brings healing or at least some relief to my emotional storm. Thank you.

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