How to Cheer up a Family?

Updated on December 16, 2011
R.B. asks from Decorah, IA
12 answers

Tomorrow is 3 years we lost my Grandma. She is such a strong loving woman!! She was the glue to our family. She has never been the "typical" Grandma. She loved to have fun. She would drive her scooter ( she couldn't walk anymore due to a stroke) down to the bar with the family and she doesn't like drinks, beer or wine... her preference was Apple Pie shots :) She had a filter on her mouth around the "young" kids... other wise she could make a sailor blush. Even as an adult she could make me blush with her round about sexual comments.. so the younger ones didn't catch on. She even went and had a shirt made up for herself that said " I am the queen B!tch, don't f*ck with me" ( with out the asterisks lol)

Since she passed away this time of year becomes very down, depressing and gloom. Everyone is in a bad mood and only focuses on her death instead of being cheerful for the season. I know it takes time to get over loosing someone... I know this way to well as I am still struggling with it. But I have made a choice to be happy for my kids.

On her date as a family, no matter where we are ( some of us live farther away than the rest of the family) we always play the "Gambler" by Kenny Rogers, her favorite song and singer and take an apple pie shot. We all text each other with I Love You MORE. That was always Grandma's last words.

While talking with my family we all agree that we a new tradition for this time of year that is more happy ( we will still keep the song and shot) and to keep everyone's spirit up. We just want something silly or what ever... any suggestions are welcome! It has to be something we can do together... even while be states away from one another... so if it was something that could be mailed or what ever. Something to help give focus on the happiness, to even out the sadness.

Thank you!

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So What Happened?

Ann ~ I have a little shrine on the side of our house that I have the claw foot tub I got from her with small blue flowers to look like water in it and butterflies ( she loves butterflies) and humming birds ( my other Grandmas favorite bird) coming out of it. Then Tiger lilies ( my Grandpa, her husbands favorite flower) Red Roses ( my other Grandpa's favorite flower) surrounding it. Then a Harley Davidson sign in the middle for my Uncle I lost.

Yes watching it bloom and looking at it all summer brings such joy and peace!

Thank you everyone for you answers to far!

I LOVE it one and done!! and yes her "fiestiness" has been passed down and lives in us lol

Tracy K. You hit it on the head exactlly!

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

Awwwww......I miss my grandmothers still.....many years after they passed. Grams are really special. :)

I know you guys are scattered around the country so how about this idea:

An annual "Grandma Helen" Award?

Early in December (or November even) have everyone submit an entry as to "what they did in 2011 that was MOST like what Grandma Helen would have done/said/worn/visited, etc."?
Then compile the entries and everyone gets to cast their vote for the O. that they feel best embodies the spirit of Grandma Helen!

The winner gets to house the Grandma Helen Trophy for the year.
(Then they can ship it to the next year's winning recipient.)

You could get something to symbolize her as the award....A Kenny Rogers framed photo, a scooter ornament, a replica of her t-shirt, etc. It doesn't have to be the Typical" trophy.

It will keep her spirit alive all year and you'll all get a kick out of reading about the times when everyone thought they were channeling Grandma!
A feisty spirit like that has certainly been passed on through the genes, right?

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

love the thought that you do apple pie shots in her memory.

For my family, we do shots of Gentleman the cemetery. Sacrilegious, I know....but it soothes our souls. It's been 2 years since my Dad died....& we'll be at the cemetery this wkend before our family party. :)

As for cheering up the family, this will happen with time....just keep her memory strong & applaud her love. My MIL passed away 3 years ago & we just celebrated our 1st Christmas gathering with ALL of the adult children.....1st time since her death. OH, & I love "OneAndDone" 's idea!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You know that garden gnome on Travelocity that is photoshopped all over the world into cool settings? I would do that with a picture of gramma and email it to each other. Have everybody get creative. Photoshop her at the Grand Canyon in her scooter with the caption "hoveround" that would crack my brothers up. Have her photoshopped in front of the Eiffel tower with a french mustache and beret. Just silly stuff and send them to each other and vote on favorite. Save them all for a compilation later.

But If I am reading this right, all the focus on Gramma has been bringing you guys down. The only part of that you have decided to hold onto is the shot and text. So, you want something fun and NEW to take the family into the next era? Not just new ways to commemorate the matriarch of the family?

Is there a new matriarch? It sounds like it might be you! My mom passed and if I leave it to my family, they dont get together for holidays anymore and if they do its a somber, boring affair. Even though they all live 5 miles from each other and I live 6 hrs away, I am the glue that holds them together. I coordinate thier get togethers and I call and liven the place up and suggest games they play or read jokes over speaker phone.

So with all that in mind, if I am understanding you. Lets think of something you can do to brighten your familys holiday that is not gramma related. I'll think for a while and get back to you. Maybe the next few posters will have some great ideas for something NEW for you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Your grandma sounds awesome!!! I love that you remember her by doing things she did, shots, music, laughter. You sound like you have a spirited family. It's so great that you grow flowers in her claw foot tub. Sounds like you should keep doing what you're doing :-) It gets better with time...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Celebrate her.
Versus "mourning" her.

My Dad passed away about 11 years now.
He was a real hoot, just like your Grandma and he was the best Dad ever. No one, knows me like he did. And I miss him dearly.
But I see happy things everyday, that remind me of him.
He wouldn't want us to be depressed over him.
But to "celebrate" him and our memories of him

What about, getting a helium balloon... put a note in it for Grandma, and release the balloons to the skies?
We did that, for my Dad and I did that with my kids.
It is really great.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss! I still struggle with the loss of my Grandmother, as well - she was pretty feisty too, but yours sounds like a hoot!
I think your tradition is great; a wonderful way to honor her memory! What if you all released balloons to say "hello" to her - I would think that the younger kids would especially enjoy that, and seeing their enjoyment may lift your spirits, as well. I began planting lilies in honor of my grandmother (one of her favorites) every year and I always get a smile when I see them begin to bloom in late spring and am able to brighten up the house with the flowers.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Take what you've written here, minus all the stuff everyone else already knows, and write a letter. Mail it with an invitation for a holiday party where you will all get together and, one last time, have an Irish Wake in Grandma's honor. Really cut loose and tell all the great stories. Then, come together and agree that you'll work with one another to make the next holidays celebrations that Grandma would be proud of.

And in the future, end each celebration with the words "THIS was a party Grandma would be proud of!"


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

How about a time capsule of sorts. Put together a small book with pages to write in and send it around to all the families. When it arrives each family member adds something to the book that was a favorite memory of Grandma. Be it a memory, recipe, picture, song lyrics, quote, etc. Then they send it off to the next family to read and share. Maybe a 12 days of Grandma at each Chrismas season. Keep the book going to each family to check out all the great memories and celebrate her life by putting it down on paper. Make sure to send it around a second time so that each family gets to see the full effect of this Christmas's additions. Have fun with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

How about each family member creating a special christmas ornament with a grandma theme that can proudly be displayed (and emailed pics to other family members) each year? Or if you all can afford it maybe you could contact your local senior center and 'adopt' a senior for the holidays providing food, gifts, and good cheer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

You could all write her a special note put it in your own balloon, maybe her favorite color and let them go at the same time. Up to fly to heaven to her. She will get balloons from all around the world:)


answers from Wausau on

We understand the loss you are feeling and holidays always are and will be difficult ... Because your Grandma was nice & fiesty, each of you must have tons of memories! Start a "Memory Tree" Journal. As each season rolls around, begin by sharing a favorite memory of yours, and send it to the next sibbling or family member in line by age, or whatever you decide, the next shares their memory and sends it on, etc. Just wait to see what it looks like when it finally returns to you!

You will be amazed at how each of you will treasure that journal coming back with various memories--all year through.

We all lose our loved ones physically, but they remain in our hearts forever through special memories shared!

May God bless you with however you chose to share those 'fiesty' and heart-warming memories with each other :))



answers from Rapid City on

I am sorry about the loss of your grandma. It is so hard to be without a loved one for Christmas. June 12, 2010 we lost our youngest son Jordan in a car accident, just 3 days before his 23rd birthday. Last year for Christmas I didn't want to put up a tree or anything. Someone said to me "what would you have done different if you knew last year would have been Jordan's last Christmas?" I came up with a lot of things, make it more special, get more pictures of him with his daughter, record his voice a whole lot more. Then they asked "Who's last Christmas is it this year and how do you want to remember their last Christmas?" It certainly woke me up because I didn't ever want anyone's last Christmas to be full of tears and sadness. I did my share of crying but I kept it for when I was alone and could release it just for me. The point I am making is if you let the sadness and what's missing run your Christmas, you could have missed a chance to make another loved one's Christmas as special as you can if it is in fact their last Christmas. When we concentrate on what is missing in our lives, we will miss what we still have in our lives and our loved ones do not want that. Your grandma doesn't want to ruin everyones Christmas.

Things we do for Christmas and my son's birthday is to visit the grave and put up decorations. For his birthday I give a gift of a blanket to the first baby born on his birthday at the hospital he was born in. What better way to celebrate his birth then to celebrate the birth of a new baby?

Give gifts to seniors who haven't any family close by, invite them to dinner would honor your grandmother's memory more then if you all let the sadness overwhelm you.

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