I am so inspired by my grandmother. Today I watched something amazing. A little background, my grandma will be 95 in June. She has lived alone since my grandfather died 20 years ago. She is tiny, shrunken down to 4’6″ now, maybe 100 pounds. She has always worked, as long as I can remember, She worked when my mom was a child. Grandma has always held an outside job. She was never the traditional stay at home mom. Up until this last year she was still working, 3 days a week at the Senior Center. She is active in her church and her women’s group. She has a ton of friends and more of a social life than I do.
But things have not been easy. She is oldest of 6 siblings and they have all passed away now. Many many of her friends have passed. Her husband is gone, her daughter, her beloved son in law and so on. She has watched one person after another leave and she is still here. She has this amazing will.
And today I got to see it in action. Because now she is in a convalescent/rehabilitation hospital. And she is fighting to get well enough to go home. She is not giving up. This little tiny ball of fire will not give up. There are medical things going on she cannot fix. She has heart failure and water retention. She is on oxygen. And still she moves forward. I watched her today on a walker go up and down the hall with her therapist. She wants to get better. She is working hard at therapy, trying to prove she can be well enough to go home. And if anyone can do this, grandma can. I am rooting for her.
And amazingly she is making progress. They are working her off the oxygen, her swelling is there but better. And her mind, oh my gosh, she is sharp. She sees everything, she knows everyone and their life stories now. She is engaged in life, in the midst of struggle, in the midst of a place that is sad, that most people fade away in, she shines. And I am blown away. I have known her all my life, I should expect nothing less, but come on, she is 94. How do you find strength, energy and resolve at that point?
I asked her when she turned 89 what were her rules for a long life, Here is what she told me. Eat right, keep moving, be kind, but don’t take any malarkey. I love that. I have it pinned up at my desk. I try to be kind, but I don’t take any malarkey.
So I have no room to complain. I don’t get to say life is too hard, I don’t get to give up. I don’t get to check out, I don’t get to quit caring. My life is easy. I am blessed, I bounce out of bed, jump in my truck, do a days work. I am healthy, I can walk, I can think, I can see. I get to go home at night. Maybe that is the biggest thing, I get to go home. So tomorrow when I am bitching about something, I am going to think of Lillian Maxine Hennigan in her walker working her way back home. If you are a praying person send up one for my grandma. She is an amazing example of living life every minute you can.