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I've lost and found my Grammy several times during my life. I lost her when she lost her husband. She took over their business as best as she could. I lost all of that spare time she used to have for her children and grandchildren as she spent those long hours doing his job and hers. When she sold the business, she had time to be just Grammy again. Grammy was found. Around 80, she stopped driving and needed the care and protection of others. My uncle and I looked after her until he retired and needed to move to a less expensive place. He moved to a pig farm in Lebanon, MO for his retirement and returned to get her. I cried like a baby when that happened. I was commuting from another county and would spend several days a week visiting her, but I knew she needed to be with my Uncle who was not raising a young family like I was. He also was retired and had plenty of time to see to her needs and keep her company each day, several times a day. Her hearing was good in those days and we would call each other with the little things and with the big things. She was always such a wise and caring person. When things were tough, she would be an absolute supporter. When things were really great, she'd know of ways to make those moments even better. Kind, consistent and generous were her ways.

The pig farm move lasted several years and then to my complete surprise and delight she convinced my Uncle to move her back for a few more years so she could watch my young children grow. I loved bringing them by. She read stories to her great grand kids and doting over how bright they were. How sweet my family was. Telling her own stories to me and my kids several times a week after my work ended. Life was still too expensive for my Uncle's retirement plans in California, but he picked a place in Kingman Arizona that was at least within 6 hours driving range from my home. My grandmother, still bright and affectionate, made the move with tears of knowing the move had to happen. It was about the time my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and I can honestly say that this period of time was a dark one. Losing two of my unwavering supporters was crushing. I felt so vulnerable and orphaned. Where would I ever find their sage advice and wisdom again? Would I simply disappear without their love and encouragement? I had so many other people in my life, but two of the most important would be absent. This loneliness felt like physical pain.

The last 8 years have taken both of them piece by piece. My uncle and I both becoming caregivers to our own parent. I was trying to figure out exactly what I missed most about my Grammy when I found out about her passing yesterday. She had this way of really listening. Of making her loved one feel like the most important person to have ever entered her home. She seemed to have a deeper understanding of any situation than anyone I had ever known. I've loved her fairness. I've loved seeing her do the right thing and say the right thing, even when it was a more difficult path to take. Her courage seemed like magic in turning around a situation.

I was sharing my thoughts about her with a best friend. How I would miss how she was… all those precious characteristics. My friend said you must have loved her very much for a very long time, because you are just like her. I don't think I have ever been paid a better compliment than that. I have always wanted to be like her.

I've heard that the really hard parts of life give a person stamina to overcome future problems and to really allow enjoyment of the sweet moments when they come. I plan on having a nice cry this weekend. Then I'll get on with all there is to do with the strength & ability to enjoy it as if I were two Grammys. Life is sweet. I miss you Grammy ~j
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