My sweet grandmother passed away last Saturday after 86 wonderful years.
She taught me to love, through her incredible relationship with my grandfather, who passed away over 20 years ago – and who always called her “Beautiful”. She taught me the importance of family and how to be kind to everyone, no matter where they came from or what they have (or don’t have). She gave me the drive to learn and live and succeed, by being a successful businesswoman herself, in a time when working women were rare. She was doing taxes from her hospital bed just days before she died. In fact she initiated and ran a volunteer tax preparation program in her local community for the past 10 years to help senior citizens, many of them farmers with complex taxes and simple lives.
Throughout her life, she keep learning, growing and giving. She was president, secretary, treasurer of her local church and United Methodist Women organization – and a leader in the local AARP chapter. She prepared taxes for over 45 years and has been helping care for her 93-year-old sister for the past several years. She raised 3 awesome children, helped raise 5 grandchildren, and showered love on 3 great-grandchildren. A year and a half ago, she was dancing at my wedding on her 85th birthday.
She touched so many lives, and I am so very proud of her.
I am incredibly thankful that Zoe got a chance to meet her. I would have given a million dollars and more just to see the smile on my grandmother’s face when we snuck Zoe into her hospital room so they could meet for the first time. Over the 9 long days I just spent in the hospital with her, rotating shifts with my family so she would never be alone, we were able to sneak her in 3 times – and each time Granny’s face lit up (as did Zoe’s!) Over those same 9 days, Bart drove more than 1,500 miles on the loop around Athens so Zoe could sleep.
I am convinced that I am the luckiest person in the whole world to have such an outstanding family, and to have met and married the most wonderful man on the planet.
There’s nothing like the death of someone you love dearly to remind you how short life is. As Granny always said, “Just take one day at a time”. I only hope I can live my life half as well as she did. I love you, Granny. Thank you for helping me be strong and for always encouraging me to be more than I think possible. You are sorely missed.