Sunday, March 17, 2013

The last lesson my grandmother taught me


This is the first year I didn't celebrate my birthday with my Grandmom, who was a St. Paddy's baby and loved her birthday as much as I did. I know, impossible, right?Last year we celebrated her 80th straight through June! She definitely had me beat.

This year felt really weird without her - no joint birthday dinner where she gloried in picking the meal or the place because of her elder status, no admonition to not get sick from too much rich restaurant food consumed around our birthdays, no phone call on my birthday that ended with her saying, "And you call me in two days for mine and we'll do it all again."

She passed away the week before Christmas 2012 from pancreatic cancer. I'm truly thankful that while the last year of her life was painful for her physically, it was good for her emotionally - some of the walls she kept up her whole life came down, enabling her to love and be loved more freely. Those walls kept a distance between her and a lot of people. You always knew that she loved you, but she was guarded. With her guard lowered, she was more willing to talk and connect. I made the most of the time I had left with her: we really got to know each other and explore our similarities and talk about things we never talked about before. I didn't leave anything unasked or unsaid. That wouldn't have happened otherwise. While that makes her not being here now harder than it would've been if we didn't connect like that, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Learn a lesson: take down your walls. Let people in. You won't always know when it's too late.

There's always a silver lining, even to terminal illness. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandmom. Cheers.

I'm dedicating this year's Relay For Life to you. I thought it was appropriate since Relay's goal is for there to be a world with more birthdays - less people dying from cancer = more birthdays. Let's do it.


Anyone local who would like to join my team, please click the link and sign up! We'd love to have you.

Happy St. Paddy's day to the rest of you. Don't drink and drive, you hear?

For us, it's Guinness roasted corned beef and cabbage round two. 

See you tomorrow for TWTW.


18 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Knowing Grandmom's time was limited was a gift to all of you. I am glad you had that time with her. True meaning of "quality time"!
    Looking forward to dinner today!

    Love you.

    your momma

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  2. What a wonderful lesson she taught you :) one of many I'm sure. Next Saturday will be the first time I will celebrate my birthday without my Grandmother. Even though we did not always get to celebrate in persons, I always got a card in the mail and a phone call...and I'm already sad knowing that card and call will not be happening this year. But I was blessed to have 28 birthdays and many more memories with her :) Hope you can enjoy your memories with your corned beef and cabbage!

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  3. Very nice Steph. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

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  4. What wonderful memories you have sharing your birthdays together. And she did teach a valuable lesson. Here's to you and your grandmother and the memories that you'll always cherish!
    Laurie
    Lulu and Daisy

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  5. What a beautiful post! It's such a blessing that you had that time with your grandmother and that you have so many happy memories to hold on to!

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  6. Time well spent, a gift that continues to give due to the memories created. Happy Birthday Mrs. Mellor!

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  7. This is beautiful Steph, and I can completely relate. My birthday is in August, my dad's two days later and my Mom-Mom's a few after that. We always had joint birthday dinners (at the Steak & Ale on the Blvd!), and next Friday is actually 4 years since my Mom-Mom has been gone. I've been writing a sort-of similar post.

    I have no doubt your Grandmother is up in heaven partaking in a kick ass birthday dinner and looking down on what a beautiful family she has. Happy HAPPY Birthday Grandmom Mellor! <3

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  8. This is a beautiful, wonderful post, Steph.

    And that pink hat your Mom Mom is wearing? Fabulous!

    If you need another member for your Relay team, I'm in! Cancer is a bastard.

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  9. Sounds like your grandmom was an amazing lady!

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  10. What a great lesson to learn. Beautifully said, as always. Thanks for sharing

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  11. I'm slowly but surely learning those lessons - wish it were faster, but a lifetime of habits does not easily change. Thanks for the reminder and Happy Birthday to your grandmom!

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  12. AWwwwww.....my grandma's birthday was ALSO today! She's been gone a few years now. Praying for ya as you remember her today.

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  13. Such a lovely tribute! I'm so glad you had that time with her. Happy Birthday, Grandmom!

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  14. Happy Birthday Grandmom! And what a beautiful lesson! I am sorry for your loss!

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  15. This is so true. I know my mom always had her guard up. I wish she would have brought it down like your Grandma did.

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  16. what a sweet sweet post for your grandma. And what a great relationship you ahd with her. I wish I had that kind of relationship with my grandmas.

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  17. AMAZING photos of her! She looks like a breath of fresh air!

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  18. This is such a great post! I'm so glad you had such good conversations with her. My grandma passed away when I was 19. I have so many questions!

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