Today is my Grandmother's birthday. She'd have been 94 today. She grew up during the depression, lived through WWII, Vietnam, gave birth to three children - my Uncle Bob, my mother, and my Aunt Debra (who died 45 minutes after she was born). She took in more than 250 foster children as a result of Aunt Debra's death. I lived next door to her for as long as I can remember.
I can't think of what my earliest memories of Grandma are. I remember sitting with her on her bed in her room watching TV and watching her crochet. She used to make the most beautiful things. I always admired watching her shape a length of wool into something you could use.
She used to catch the ice cream truck every single time it would come into our neighborhood and get us something. She and my Grandfather weren't wealthy but she could always find change for our ice cream.
She could lay on a huge table of food even with nothing in the kitchen - I still don't know how she used to do it.
She was loving. Affectionate. Warm. Generous. And I admired her so much. She was brave and I can't remember hearing her complain about her lot. She accepted what life had handed her and she made the best of it.
When I was 16, she went into the hospital for some tests on her heart. While she was in having the tests, she had a major stroke. The kind of stroke that if she'd had at home, it would've killed her. She was in the hospital for weeks after and I would go with my Grandfather to see her. She was never the same after that.
I used to take care of my Grandmother after her stroke. I would wash her hair, cut her nails, make things for her to eat, get her audio books to listen to (she was an avid reader), and was her "remote control" for her to watch her favourite shows.
My Grandparents were responsible for me going to college. They took me and gave me cash to get me started and Grandpa would send me money in letters about once a month and they always had no less than $20 inside.
My Grandmother loved me and I never doubted that her love was real and honest. She taught me to respect others and myself. She showed me how to open my heart to people and to life. I will never forget her - not as long as I live.
I have thought about my Grandmother & Grandfather every day. I give them the credit for making me the person I am - they are the reason I work hard, do everything I can to make life better for my children, and the reason that I love with my whole heart. Heaven is a better place because they're there. And ones they left behind ... well, we'll miss you every minute until we're reunited with you someday.
Happy Birthday, Grandma. I love you.