|Grandma Penny (My Maternal Grandmother) and Me|
On Sunday afternoon, my grandmother passed away. She was 88 years old and had lived an incredibly full and blessed life. I try to find comfort in those facts and I know she's in a better place, but selfishly, I'm going to miss her a great deal. Since words can't really begin to express the void I will have in my life because she is no longer here, I thought I'd share some words that I wrote almost a year ago inspired by Adriana Trigiani's DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDMOTHERS.
My grandma Penny is my mom's mother, and she's one of the most Christian women that I've ever met. She was the oldest of 12 children, and like my grandma Carol, she wasn't able to finish high school because her family needed her help. She married my grandfather who was a farmer and had 6 children over the next 23 years. Talk about a hard worker! She did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for eight people, but she didn't have the luxuries (like automatic washing machines, microwaves, and dishwashers) that we have today. In addition, she maintained a humongous garden, canned all of the fruits and vegetables, and made almost all of the clothes for the entire family -- the list could go on and on. As a child, I honestly don't remember her ever sitting down; and if she did, she was mending clothes. She has slowed down a bit in the past few years -- she lost her husband a few years ago and currently lives in a nursing home -- but she recently received a certification to be a peer counselor for other patients in the home. She is celebrating her 88th birthday tomorrow and she has 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Needless to say, her family is her life.
Things I Learned from Grandma Penny
-- A Strong Work Ethic
-- The Importance of Family
-- Nothing Should Go to Waste
-- How to be "Green" -- reusing baggies, saving containers, composting, etc.
-- My Love of Cookbooks and Crafts
-- The Value of Religion
-- There is Strength in Silence
I am going to miss my Grandma Penny so much. I was incredibly fortunate to have her in my life for 42 years; and I'm even luckier that she's shared so many important life lessons with me and my children. I will be forever grateful that I was able to spend time with her during her last few days, and I was amazed by how she continued to give so much to me -- even in her last few hours. My grandma taught me not only how to live with grace and dignity, but also how to die with grace and dignity. She was truly one incredible woman!