Posts Tagged ‘Grandma’

Dear Friends and Readers,

Today I wanted to write a quick blog of thanks to you.  I appreciate your friendship, no matter whether you are thousands of miles away, across the Atlantic ocean, or living locally around the corner.  These past few months have been trying.  As most of you now know my dear, beloved, grandmother passed away in November. Her struggle with cancer was brief.  She was graceful at every stage.  And in the end, when her time to leave was near, she told me “I’m not afraid to die”. Such a simple sentence but how meaningful it was for our family as she got ever closer to moving on. My father and I were fortunate to be with my grandmother as she took her final breath and left this world.

I feel no need for deep grieving.  Grandma lived life to the fullest: from riding motorcycles and surfing as a teenager to living in Vietnam during war-time to settling into being called “Grandma” and finally “the Grandma who is great” (only because being called “great-grandma” made her feel old!).  Now she is in a better place.  I feel her near me all the time and that is comforting.

Your friendship has also been comforting these past few months.  I thank you for calling, writing, emailing, sending flowers, offering to help with the children, going to church to have prayers said on Grandma’s and our behalf, and so much more.

You know that saying “life is short”? Well, it’s true.  Life is short but while we’re here we should make the most of the time we’ve got.  Kick up your heels.  Run out into the rain today without an umbrella.  Throw a snowball.  Kiss someone.  Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long while.  Put down your anger and forgive.  Help a stranger. Listen. Learn.  Love.

I thank you.  I thank you for reading In An Irish Home and for supporting my efforts to get this fledgling idea off the ground. I thank you for your support in helping our family through these past few months and always being available for a chat, cuppa or a hug.  Most especially on this early morning in the Rockies…I thank you for your friendship and offer you this simple Irish blessing…”May you alway walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door”.

God Bless You.

* Photos are from the Celebration of Life we held in my grandmother’s honour last month.

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Two weeks ago I was back in Las Vegas with my grandmother who was feeling better.  She and I were going to her immuno-therapy appointments from 9:30am to 5.30pm each day while the drugs she was hooked up to killed the cancer cells coursing through her body.  I was feeling angry about her having to deal with such a cruel disease at this point in her life.

My grandmother, however, was not angry.  She was her usual happy self.  She didn’t seem scared either. I told her one evening after her treatment that she was an incredible role model and in this time of her life, especially, she continued to be a person who showed others how to accept and graciously work through whatever they had been dealt.  Grandma was a little surprised by my declaration and said she didn’t know what she was doing that seemed so “special”.

Isn’t that something? She didn’t even see how “special” she is…perhaps that’s part of what makes her so wonderful.

When she walks into her oncologist’s office for treatment every single nurse says “hello”, which sometimes means a nurse has to go out of her way to find Grandma. They call her by name. They share a quip or funny story (most recently about the handsome paramedics who took Grandma to hospital by ambulance the last time she was in for treatment). Nurse Amy, in particular, likes to remind her, “there’s no chest compressions until the second date”. Grandma just laughs.

To be sure, she’s no saint and she wouldn’t want you to see her as one either. She complained once that her bottom hurt from sitting in the blue pleather chair she has had to be in for eight hours solid.  I did hear her pass a comment about the bruises developing on her left hand from the needles.  And, oh, yes, there was something about not being able to drive just yet. To be sure, she’s no saint.

Sometimes I think she likes us to think she’s a bit of a “dragon lady”, the nickname she was given when she worked many years ago for the government.  Truthfully, I have never seen that side of her and given how she charms the pants off every Tom, Dick and Harriet, I seriously wonder about the moniker.  She is serious, however, when it comes to tasks: never messing around when there’s something that needs to be done. I think that’s how she sees her treatment.  It’s just something that needs to be done.

And so she goes, day to day, with an attitude so positive, a smile on her face, a flower tucked behind one ear (her trademark style). She’s thankful for her life, her family and her friends. She doesn’t see herself as brave (that’s reserved for people who risk their lives to help others or protect their country). She’s just getting on with whatever is ahead of her.  True to form, she continues to show all of us how to walk through this terrifying experience with grace.

Do you have a “Grandma” in your life?  I don’t mean a grandparent, per se, but someone who, like my grandmother, is a role model without realising it. If so, maybe you’ll do as I’m doing now, count your blessings, learn the lessons they have to teach, and let him or her know just how much they mean to you. Go on.  Don’t wait. And, if you’re up to it, feel free to share your story.  I’d love to hear it.

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