Monday, November 14, 2016

Get out there and live...

My grams was a vibrant, energetic, kickass woman who only started showing signs of slowing down around the time she turned 96. (Seriously! :p ) She'd always been active whether it was taking care of her family, working, volunteering. Heck, she worked the polls for nearly 30 years, retiring just after she turned 96. She'd tell me there were days she was so tired she didn't want to get out of bed but she did it anyway because she knew what would happen if she didn't--she would die in it. And there was no way in hell she was going to let THAT happen.

So every morning, including the morning of June 15, 2015, as tired as she was and as much as the arthritis hurt, she got out of that bed. Once again, she'd been given a chance to kick life's least for a few hours anyway, before it was decided for her that she no had do, she had done her share of good, she had lived her best life and it was time for her to move on. And so on that morning of June 15th, she did just that. She moved on.

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Grams & me
Grams was not amazed, but rather thankful as she moved into her 90's that her mental and physical health was so strong. Her sister, who passed away recently, would often say that grams got the good genes. Grams would credit her Italian father and Sicilian mother for that. She had a little high cholesterol that she took meds for and a little arthritis which was eased by a few Aleve every day. She swore by vitamins especially Gingko Biloba and never missed a day taking them. Also, reading and doing crossword puzzles kept her mind sharp. Then there was the interactions with people, which really, was her favorite thing. Oh how she loved people. The interactions kept her engaged with life.

In the last few years of her life, grams would tell me that every day she woke up was a gift. She was a woman who knew how to live and I'm not talking about living in the material sense, she just knew how to appreciate LIFE. Grams made the best of every single day of her life. She loved working, volunteering, helping people, spending time with her family and friends, going to the mall, social activities--just getting out of the house to do things, even if it was just to go to the store---which she would do just about every day even if it was for the smallest thing like a loaf of bread. Mom would say, "Ma, what could you possibly need at the store again??" and the truth was most of the time, she really didn't "need" anything, she just wanted to get out. And hen she was out, she always took time to talk to people--at the store, bank, post office, the school, doctor's office, gas station, etc.

The day after grams passed away, people were in shock because they'd just seen her, as vibrant and energetic as ever. I don't know how she hid how tired she'd become, but she did. She definitely believed in mind over body and so I have no doubt she willed herself to feel good and it reflected on the outside. The woman had an incredible will and determination.

Grams truly believed she was here for a reason and knew she'd live for that reason, fulfill that purpose until God was ready to take her. And she sure did. She LIVED. Boy, did she LIVE!

I learned a thousand and one lessons from Grams in the 46 years I had her in my life--so many lessons that I could not even begin to list them here. But among the most important were about purpose and about never giving up.

Everyone has a purpose, a reason for being here. And if you don't yet know what it is is, know that you are NEVER too old to find it. You have a gift, sometimes it's right there for all the world to see and sometimes it isn't. Find the gift, make good use of it, take your God-given natural talents and use them in a way that makes you feel happy, fulfilled and brings joy to your life and brings joy to others.

When life sucks and you don't want to get out of bed, get out of bed. When the pain hits, fight back. Don't let yourself wither away. Don't let the age, the pain, the frustration, the sadness, and the loneliness take you over. Life is good, it's good because you're here and you matter and you are a part of this big, stupid, crazy, world and your presence is important. Life is good, living is better--so Live!

Every day you wake up, it means you got one more chance.

What are you going to do with yours?

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