My Guardian Angel

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Family, Life
Tags: , , , , , ,

A year ago today, the world lost one of the most loving, caring, generous people I’ve ever known. Some of you may not know her, but several of you probably did. This person? My grandma.

It seems slightly bittersweet to lose someone on Valentine’s Day. It’s like on one hand, on a day that’s supposed to be filled with love, there will always be a sense of loss felt. But on the other hand, it seems oddly fitting that someone who was loved so much by others, should pass away on a day designed for love.

My grandma was one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. The woman bore nine children, two of which were stillborn. She raised the seven remaining children on next to nothing, but it didn’t matter. Her life’s happiness was wrapped up entirely in her family. Her marriage to my grandpa wasn’t perfect by any means, in fact sometimes it was downright awful, but through it all—they stayed together. I’m not sure that the kind of love they showed would work for anyone else, but it worked for them.

Grandma played a huge role in my upbringing. My mom, who is the middle child, and the oldest of the daughters had me when she was only 18—and because of that, a lot of the caretaking responsibilities fill on my grandma’s shoulders. That woman loved me something fierce, and my life’s happiness ended up wrapped up in her and my grandpa both.

Grandma loved SO much, that sometimes it’s hard for me to comprehend a heart that big. The thing was, that with as much as she gave, as much as she did for other people—the woman NEVER expected anything in return. All she wanted was a little bit of your time, but never, ever did she expect it.

She was a devout Catholic, but never one of those who pushed her views on you. In fact, I remember the only time I ever swore at my grandma. One of my good friends died in a car accident in high school, and after the funeral I went to grandma’s. She told me that God had a plan, and that we here on Earth cling to life and think that it doesn’t get any better, and we are sorely mistaken. I yelled at her, and told her that was bullshit. The woman didn’t flinch—I’m sure she’d heard far worse in her day—instead she just hugged me.

Grandma had so little to give in terms of money, but what she did have—she often gave away. Sometimes it was to charities, but more often times than not it was in the form of a gift for someone. A little figurine, some sort of trinket, or a sweater she’d found that you might like. Sometimes it was just because, but you could always count on a card when a holiday came around and taped on the inside would be a $5 bill. And as I got older, and realized how much grandma didn’t have—sometimes that $5 bill would bring tears to my eyes.

The thing with grandma is that she never thought in terms of what she DIDN’T have, it was always what she DID have—and in her mind she had God and he had blessed her with a family that she had the pleasure of watching grow for 87 years, and that was all she needed. It didn’t matter what she wore, it didn’t matter what she drove, it didn’t matter what her house looked like—because in her case all she really needed was love and she had that tenfold.

So on this Valentine’s Day I remember my grandma and the unbelievable person that she was. I remember how she used to write me letters when I was away from home even though her hands were riddled with arthritis. I remember her riding her bike around town faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. I remember how only one time did I have to wash my mouth out with soap, and still never heard her use a curse word. I remember how when I was little I thought her lap was the softest one I’d ever felt. I remember how in a world that so oftentimes seems dark and cold, she was a safe haven.

On this Valentine’s Day, I think everyone could take a cue from my grandma and the person she was. Be brave, be strong, love more, give more, and revel in the things you do have, not the things you don’t have. All anyone in this world wants is to make an impact in someone’s life. Funny thing is that my grandma probably didn’t want that, she wasn’t about being praised or honored, she wanted to do that for others. But inadvertently, through her actions and her unrelenting love for others, she made an impact on far more people than she probably ever thought possible.

The woman lived her life in such a manner that God couldn’t help but bless her, and she so looked forward to going to heaven. Last year on this very day, she got her wish—and while those of us she left behind miss her dearly, I feel a little bit safer knowing that the woman who used to collect everything that had to do with angels, now sits among them.

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Comments
  1. wmarsau says:

    Great blog! I wish that I could have met this amazing woman!

  2. dustinsmothers says:

    I agree with Bill, we can all learn a little something from her!

  3. TJ Tuetken says:

    Great blog and you are definitely blessed to have had her in your life.

  4. […] graduated from high school until about a year ago. When I was younger, thanks largely in part to my grandma, church was a HUGE part of my upbringing. I may not always have understood the rituals of the […]

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