Garrett Gastil’s Reflection on a Grandmother

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Garrett with my mom and my sister and brother's families. Mom is in the middle. Garrett is holding his cousin Daniel. From left to right, front row: Paige, Marge, Liz holding Lauren. Back Row: Tom, Garrett holding Daniel, Miles, Matt.

Here’s the piece that my nephew Garrett Gastil delivered beautifully at the memorial service for my mother last Sunday. Garrett also played piano for the prelude at the start of the service. Miles Gastil, his brother, opened the service with Hymne de L’Ascension by Erik Videaux, which Garrett followed with Trois Noturnes, Opus 9 #1 by Chopin.

Here’s Garrett’s remembrance of Margaret Linton:

Ever since I was very young, I remember being excited for Friday nights because that meant that we would be going to grandma’s house for the evening. Grandma made the greatest meals, or she would take us to Rutabagorz where we were known as the family that always asked for extra bread. Grandma’s also meant lots of coffee heath bar ice cream or as many dove bars as we wanted. Grandma always had things to say. She would tell us stories of her childhood, or about something cute we did as babies, or something crazy my mom and uncles did as kids.

We loved Grandma’s house because we loved grandma, and she loved us unconditionally. Grandma was always warm and welcoming. Every time Paige, Miles and I ran through her front door, her face would light up. Grandma had a very strong sense of family. She was very open with her affection for all of us. I remember she gave me two cards at my eighth grade graduation because “one wasn’t enough!” She then burst into tears as she said, “I just love you so much and I’m so proud of you.”

She was able to come to my high school graduation, witness me grow as a pianist, and watch me play football and run track. I am so grateful for her life and for my relationship with her. Over the years, she has become more than just my grandmother; she has become my friend. She put everything she had into caring for me, for all of us.

I am honestly having a hard time believing that she is gone. I will forever miss her loving care and her quiet encouragement in my life. I will miss walking her out to her car every time she left our house. She would insist I didn’t need to, but would then hold my arm and talk to me about lots of things, big and small.

She had a beautiful life, and she created an amazing family that has an incredible sense of care, loyalty and love.

I will miss her beaming face at birthdays and on holidays, thrilled that the family was together.

I will miss her tears of joy as we played piano for her.

I will miss picking up the phone and talking to her, and hearing her say, “I love you” over and over at the end of the conversation as she refused to hang up first.

I will never forget her.

I will see my grandmother again, and her memory will live on in us because she loved us.

I will always love you grandma.

Garrett is wonderful young man, who recently graduated from Laguna Hills High School and will be attending Texas Christian University beginning later this month.

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