Today marked the day the woman who taught me the importance of having a tribe would have been 88 years old. She left this world on a rainy morning in February this year. She was remarkable. Both in sickness and in health.
In health, she was tough. Not mean, but I do mean tough. She was a trailblazer. She spent a short time in the Convent. I found the picture of her as a beautiful Novice when I was teenager. She left the Convent and married. And no, not a fallen priest. A Methodist sailor. Can you imagine? I wish she’d have had the perfect love story. I’m sure that’s what she thought was going to ensue. It wasn’t. By all accounts, it was far from the greatest love story ever between her and the sailor. But her time with him before the divorce that was nearly unheard of during those times and his untimely death shortly after that divorce created years worth of a different type of love story.
She raised two kids, bought a home on her own during a time when women didn’t do that, and made a life. Not an easy one, or a perfect one. But one she made for herself and her kids. And by all accounts, that house was filled with love. By the time I came around, that house was well established as a welcoming place. I lived there with Grandma, Mom, and my uncle for the first few years of my life. I’m so glad I am fortunate enough to remember part of those years. Years that she would take me out to pick cherries from the tree out front before she took the bus to work. She didn’t have a car. But she made sure that never stopped her. As I got older, my Mom married, moved out with me, and the family grew. Grandma would spend her annual two weeks of vacation taking my brothers and I on grand adventures through our city on the bus. And again, how fortunate I am to have those memories.
Skipping ahead several years, I recall when Grandma and I became real friends. She was one of my best friends. She never let me forget that I was her girl, even when she was a bit less than pleased with me. I’ve been told before that if I’d decided to steal the moon from the sky, she would have heard me out on my reasons for deciding to do so before telling me to put it back. Probably not far from the truth. She was my girl as much as I was hers.
This is the part of her life I want to share today. It is enough for now. Another day is a better day to speak of what she gave while sick. Today is a day to remember the good times.