Sometimes life has a way of reminding us of what’s really important. Unfortunately, this often happens after something bad like a tragedy or an illness occurs. But sometimes it’s the little things, like spending a few hours with my 97 year-old-grandmother, that reminds me that it’s the small things that count so much.
My grandmother is a healthy, vibrant, and often feisty person. She has many stories of days gone by and opinions on how life has changed. But as any other person getting up there in age, she has days that she gets lonely. She is very fortunate that she lives in her own house and can get around pretty well, but is also very dependent on my parents who live close to her and do many things for and with her. This weekend after talking to her on the phone, I decided that I should drop by and visit her in person.
I spent two hours with her, listening to stories of days gone by — some of which I had heard before and others I hadn’t. She has lived quite a colorful and hard past. When she was a child, her parents didn’t have much money, so she and her friends often walked the railroad tracks to collect pieces of coal that had fallen off the trains so they could heat their homes. They also would also tease and make faces at some of the train workers, so that they would get mad at her and her friends and throw watermelons at them (which they would then collect and eat what they could).
As a young woman she worked at many different factories including an ice cream factory, a mink factory, and at Crucible steel during WW11 in Newark, NJ. She knows the value of a dollar and still to this day, buys most of her things at a thrift shop or garage sale. She’s one-of-a-kind and everyone who knows her would agree.
She does keep her mind engaged— doing word finds, reading the paper every day, and cuts coupons for a group that sends coupons to military families that are serving overseas (and often only getting one salary). She also loves to spend time with her family, especially her great grandchildren (which I believe the count is now at 24).
Those two hours on Saturday reminded me that I am fortunate to have a grandmother still alive and in such good health, and that sometimes finding time out of my busy schedule to visit her and other family members is a vital and rewarding thing to do. She’s also a living example of why and how you have to keep your mind engaged as you age in order to age well.
Here’s to more good reminders of what makes life important and good.