As my Grandma recently passed, at the age of 99, I want to honor her with sharing what she taught me over the years.
My memory of visiting my Grandma as a kid was that she always had homemade cookies. Her favorites to bake were oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, and candied fruit. I would go in to where she kept them and grab one. As I took my first bite, I would be pleased if I got an oatmeal or chocolate chip one. If I wasn’t paying attention, I may be disgusted to discover it was a candied fruit cookie. Yuck. Once I took it, I had to eat it. Throwing it away was not an option. My lesson was to pay attention and look more closely so I didn’t end up having to eat a cookie that was gross to me.
My Grandma used to say, “Bring me flowers when I’m alive, not when I’m dead. I want to be able to enjoy them.” I always thought this was pretty cool. Similarly, she commented, as she neared death, “Why are people that didn’t come to visit me before coming now that I’m dying?” Enjoy life, and each other, while you can. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
My Grandpa passed away about 30 years ago, when I was a kid. I watched my Grandma live independently that whole time. She lived alone, with my aunt nearby to watch over her and help her, until the end. Imagine, being so strong and independent that you can live on your own until you’re 99. My Grandma showed me how to be strong and stand on my own.
At the end, she reminded me of the most important lesson of all. As far as I can tell, she didn’t discover this until she was dying, but I hope we can learn it now. Her new favorite response to a problem, situation, or decision was “It doesn’t matter.” In the grand scheme of things, very few things really matter. No need to get upset, mad, or worried about the small stuff. Most things are replaceable. We know, deep down, how others care about us. Make it clear to others how you feel and the details won’t matter.
God bless, Grandma.