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Happy Birthday, Grandma!

September 25, 2008

Today is bittersweet day for me.  It’s my grandma’s birthday.  Five and a half years ago, Gram fought a heroic battle against cancer.  She has been celebrating the victory in heaven ever since.  I miss her terribly as does the rest of the family.

Grandma was always a model of womanly strength and true femininity.  As painful as it was to watch her die, it was also beautiful.  Her character and virtues were illuminated through her suffering.  We all watched Grandma hold on to her dignity and faith to the very last.

There is so much I could say about those last days and the ones that followed.  Our grief was intense, but our love even more so.  Nothing we said to each other brought more comfort than “I love you.”  Those were words I heard constantly from Grandpa, my parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and great-aunts and -uncles.  And they were the only words I could say to them as well.  It was the best way we could honor Grandma.

Five and a half years later and the grief is still intense, the void still vast.  I’ve learned a lot about myself during the journey of sorrow: I’ve learned that I can carry on when my life shatters around me; I can love with a broken heart; I can have joy throughout the mourning; I can live through dark days knowing there will be light.  As difficult as these years have been, I wouldn’t change them.  I cherish them because they are another example of how my grandma has contributed to my formation.  I continue to draw strength and wisdom from her memory.

I still miss Grandma, but I have the hope of seeing her in the next world.  She will, of course, be doing the “Grandma Wave” she used to do whenever we left the house, only when I see her again, she will be waving hello.

Happy Birthday, Grandma.  I love you and will see you someday!

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