In the dark of this night, I mourn the passing of a marvel. A light in my dark place. One of the (very) few who truly believed in me before I believed in myself.
Words will never do justice to this exceedingly fine woman, but I'm going to let them try.
Grandma had the ability to show a person how they might achieve their very best self; like a life coach, motivational speaker and Jesus, all rolled up into one. Nary a word of complaint or unkind thought toward another human being ever left her lips, in my hearing. Her power to make you believe the very best of yourself was second to none.
I had the privilege of living with her during that first semester of college when I was still wet behind the ears but thought I was all grown up. Her kindness and constant words of praise washed over me like a warm wave. I couldn't help but think I was her very favorite person in all the world, when the reality of it was, I was a VERY difficult teenager. I'm pretty sure my dad had to beg her and Grandpa to take me in when I proved too determined to stay in Idaho for school. All through those months she never stopped telling me how smart, pretty, talented, witty, charming and wonderful I was. And wasn't I just the best cook, party planner and friend? My, didn't everyone just love me? And wouldn't you know it, by the end of my time there, some of those things were true. I still believe it was because she wished them so, and not because I had anything to do with it. Toward the end there, I even started to be neat. My mother was speechless. Dad was speechless. We all stood in awe of the power that was Grandma.
I'm certain no other person on earth has come closer to death more times than my dear grandmother. But she's always thinking of others and couldn't bear to leave Grandpa alone, so she's always pulled though... until now. I can't recall all her near-death experiences in childhood, other than Scarlet Fever. She nearly died in child bed. Twice. And then there was the fiery car accident that left the VW in a heap of burning metal but from which my grandparents emerged nearly unscathed. The heart attack in the 90's, complete with life flight and month's stay in ICU. My Husband can come up with four separate times she's stood at death's door just since he's known her. Medical Marvel doesn't come close to describing her. I learned a term this week that might apply. Dura Mater. In anatomical terms it means the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord, but in Latin it means Tough Mother. And for all her softness and caring, she was tough in Spirit, and a Mother to the very core of her being.
We're pretty mopey around here this evening, thinking of the great loss of her good and kind heart, but we're also just a tad envious of the Heavenly Reunion my own sweet father must be having right now, and her joy at holding her son again.
It is the end of an era, a passing of an age. My one great hope is that someday, I can be like her.
Grandma, I wish you a speedy journey, and then peace. Until we meet again...
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