Dear Mother Jones,
I know this won’t mean much to you, but my grandmother died on Wednesday, and as odd as it sounds, you were the first people I thought of. You see, my grandmother and I had a special bond. She always respected my intelligence, and while she was giving People and other pop magazines to my other cousins, she was giving me Mother Jones. I always tried to understand what was going on in the magazine; often times she would have to explain it to me. Still, those times were so happy.
For the last two years of her life, I couldn’t see her because of family problems. We didn’t speak, didn’t write emails, and my heart broke because I couldn’t be near her. But every time I saw a Mother Jones article, I felt closer to her. I just subscribed this year so that I could hold the magazine in my hands once again. Your journalism was the standard for my writing throughout high school, and my grandmother kept every article I wrote in a folder, and when I became editor-in-chief, she kept every newspaper.
Now that I won’t even be at her funeral, I can only give my eulogy here.
My grandmother was a great woman. She achieved a PH.D in Chemistry at a time when women were discouraged from just getting their undergrad degree. Her career was spent at Eli Lilly, where she helped discover a heart decongestant. She had a great collection of dolls and books. She painted beautiful pictures. And when she retired she devoted her life still to helping people, particularly her grandchildren. She donated money to Native American reservations, and even started a scholarship for Liberal Arts students from a dying factory town in our state.
She always defended my writing. All of my cousins ended up being active in sports, a few in music, a few in art, but I was the only one who wrote. And God love my grandmother, she defended the god-awful vampire story that I wrote when I was fourteen. She was always proud of me. And I like to think she would be proud of me today.
My grandmother died the day I went to interview for Planned Parenthood’s internship position. I was grateful for my husband not telling me until after the interview, because I don’t think I would have made it through otherwise. But now I have the internship, and although I’m ecstatic about it, it hurts to think that I’ll never be able to have my grandmother be proud of me once again for doing something right with my life.
But at least I can tell you, Mother Jones. At least I can smile each time I hold your magazine and realize that I’m helping to do something about the problems you report on. I think my grandmother would like that.