This month it will be two years that my grandmother passed away. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I can honestly say my grandmother was one of my closest friends and her passing has left a big void in my heart. My grandmother was 93 years old when she passed away. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and as her disease progressed my love for her grew even more. I felt the need to protect her. Truthfully, I am not sure if she ever realized the impact she had on me but I do know that the bond we shared was mutual.
Here are some of valuable lessons that I learned from my grandmother…
Greet your guests with open arms:
The minute I would call my grandmother to ask if I could come to visit it didn’t matter what she was doing or where she was going, all plans were cancelled and her grandchildren and eventually her great grandchildren became her priority. We would get off the elevator to the floor of her apartment and there she was waiting for us at her door. When she had a little more difficulty standing, a bench was placed outside her door for her to sit. We would turn the corner of the hallway and there she was with a huge smile waiting for us to greet her. We became her top priority that day and whether we stayed for hours or just 15 minutes, she was thrilled that we were there. The rest of the day was spent calling all her family and friends sharing stories from her visit earlier that day.
Give back to your community:
It is important to give back to the community and to others. Charity was very big in my grandparents’ home. Both of my grandparents gave back to their community as well as to those less fortunate. Whether cooking, crocheting blankets, or donating her time, my grandmother was always giving back. She never complained and did everything with an open heart. Giving made her happy.
Laughter is the best medicine:
I loved my grandmother’s laugh…she had such a great sense of humor. It is incredible to me that even as her disease progressed this was one personality trait that stayed with her. She had the ability to make everyone laugh around her. Her laughter went through her whole body and her smile brightened up her face and lit up the room. She radiated happiness and her smile brought a great energy to the room.
My grandmother always appreciated the small things in life. She never expected big gifts, expensive trips or being pampered. My grandmother was someone who taught me that sometimes the littlest gestures give the biggest rewards. If you are always waiting for something big you will be disappointed, however the smallest things in life make you happy all the time and are usually available every day. Although my grandparents traveled to many places I truly think she was happiest at home in her apartment, in good company.
Know your way around your kitchen:
Know matter how many people my grandmother was having over for a holiday dinner, celebration, or visit on a Sunday afternoon, she was able to whip up a meal in no time. I was so impressed that she always had food in her kitchen that enabled her to put together a meal last minute. She also had key ingredients in her pantry, some sweets, nuts and always a tin of homemade cookies.
It is not the quantity of friends but the quality:
My grandmother was someone who thrived on being around people. My grandmother’s friends were her family. My grandmother didn’t have a ton of friends, but she had a close knit group of friends who were always there for one another. Her greatest joy was doing things with her friends and family and not having things.
A Birthday Wish is Never Too Late:
I called my grandmother a day after her birthday, feeling guilty and she said, “It’s never too late to wish someone a Happy Birthday”. She was right, don’t make someone feel bad for forgetting your birthday, give them the benefit of doubt, you never know what kind of day they had.