Like so many, I have a list of people who have inspired me over the years. I have friends that have read countless revisions of my pages, crit partners who have shredded them and famiy members who have praised them. But there is one person who has always, no matter what I’ve done, supported me like few others.
In a few days, I’ll be flying to Kansas to see my Grams one last time. I know death is a part of life, but I would be remised as a writer if I didn’t acknowledge her in prose.
When I was little, Grams was a constant in a crazy world. She was this calm force who never got worked up, never really raised her voice and always had the canned Del Monte pudding in the cupboard.
When I got older, she was the voice of reason when I wanted to rebel against my parents. She carefully made me look at life from my mother’s point of view and validated my feelings of wanting independence while encouraging me to take time to consider my options.
When I was in high school and going through a rough time, she was a silent angel working behind the scenes, helping to pave the way for me to finish high school with my friends and even though I never really thanked her, being the selfish teenager, she never stopped giving.
When I graduated and was lost, unsure of which way to go or how to swim, she was the kick in the ass I needed to go to college. I joke that she practically wrote out my application for me, but in all seriousness, without her, I don’t know if I would have made it.
While I was in college, I’m sure she worried about the choices I was making but came to my rescue on more than one occasion. She never gave up on me and while I took that fore granted, I don’t know where I would be without her.
When she first met my to-be husband, I could see the look of relief on her face. I think she knew I had broken my cycle of damaged “boys” and had grown up enough to accept the love of a good man.
When I called to tell her I was FINALLY getting married, I could hear the sadness that she couldn’t make it to the wedding, but I also heard love. Not just for me, but for the man who is now my husband.
When I called to tell her she was going to be a great-grandmother, pure joy flooded the phone line. And when she met my oldest and a year later, my youngest, I watched my grandmother fall in love.
When I told her I was going to be a writer, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But like everything I had done in my life, I was greeted with support and love and acceptance that has never faltered but grown greater.
When she is gone, I will have to carry on in a world that is just a little less bright and remember the values she instilled in me. I can only hope to be a third of the woman she is. She is a constant reminder to work hard, do my best, and pick myself up with life knocks me down. For those lessons and so many more, I will be eternally grateful.
I am so blessed to have a woman in my life who sees the good in so many people and never gives up on those she loves. I know the days and weeks and months and years will bring with them moments of sadness, but I will strive to remember the great times we’ve had and BE PASSIONATE about those around me who make me better.