I had to make a choice, should I stay or should I go?
I chose to go.
I got up early the morning after arriving at my brothers, got dressed and headed to hospice to see my MomMom (my grandmother).
It was as if she saved her best self for me…
Just days earlier, my aunt had told me they didn’t think she’d make it past the weekend.
Everyone had a different opinion on whether I should fly home or have my last goodbye be the I saw her at Christmas. In the end, the only person who can ever make those hard decisions are ourselves, and I’m so glad I listened to myself.
Because that week, was the last time I saw her.
And, our time together, for me was perfect and priceless.
That morning when I walked into to hospice, I didn’t know what to expect given what I’d heard. But she was happy, had good color and was talkative. I thought, “this woman isn’t going anywhere!” I fed her, she was eating (just 1 day later she wouldn’t take a bite), we laughed, I played Christmas carols, (her favorite) and even though her vision was very impaired, I know she could see me. I danced around her hospital bed, we sung Frank Sinatra and I held her hand as I told her how much I loved her and that she was the best MomMom ever.
She said she loved me too (made my heart sing) and I held that moment in my mind, I took a picture in my head that I can recall as I type this to you right now, with dense tears filling my eyes.
I miss her…
Today, this note to you, is to honor her.
In lieu of Mother’s Day, I thought what better way than to share a piece of my heart with you, and the lesson’s my MomMom taught me about life, family and love.
Wisdom is the gift for generations to learn from and she lived to be just shy of 96 (by 5 days).
8 Life Lessons from my MomMom to Live Your Best and Very Long Life:
- Do What Make Your Heart Sing: Find a place you love and move there. Life is too short to live for others. For my MomMom, it was the beach. She loved the smell, the water, the sand, the salt air. The beach was her happy place, this is where she moved to, brought my PopPop even though he didn’t like sand…LOL, built a life and lived there until the day she died. And her family followed.
- Traditions are what makes memories and hold a family together: My MomMom loved all holidays. I grew up surrounded by my aunts and cousins, from huge Thanksgivings, to easter egg hunts, to having to sing Christmas carols before we could open gifts and more. The memories I have and all of the traditions, as crazy as family can be, are what made them so special. I wouldn’t trade all the chaos, laughter and love for anything. I was with my MomMom for 40 Christmas, never missed one.
- Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind, say it and stick to it: My MomMom was not a quiet, bashful woman. She was bold, had A LOT to say and didn’t always care how it sounded. But she loved big, took care of her family and her heart was always invested in you. She had opinions and stood strong in them and taught me to do the same (I’m still learning this one and call on her when I need a helping hand).
- Age is just a number: My MomMom volunteered her time until she literally couldn’t see anymore, which was like 3 years ago. She was active in politics, giving back and always kept her mind sharp. She did crossword puzzles like it was her job and never let age determine her level of independence. She lived alone and on her own until she was passed away. My MomMom didn’t succumb to the stigmas of what elderly people were supposed to fall into. She had a facebook page that she actively posted on until age 95! That impressed me! I believe this is what kept her going – not letting her mind get lazy and staying current in life.
- Family First Always: My MomMom might not have always done right by her children, but she always did the best she could and made sure they were raised right and stayed close together and to this day, my father and his sisters and all of us are extremely close. She taught us to value family and stand by one another, always. That family is the most important thing and to not take it for granted.
- Gratitude is Key: All I remember, especially in the last 10 years of her life, is my MomMom, never complaining about being in pain or her hearing going or eye sight, but simply saying “I am blessed” and she was.
- Forever Faithful: I was raised Catholic and to this day, there is a pew at church assigned and saved for my MomMom. She went every Sunday and then we would go to the Crystal Diner for breakfast. It was our thing. Faith was huge for her, God, religion, she was old school catholic, so in her mind “priests should not get married or be funny..” when priest would tell jokes…she would get angry and tell me if she wanted to laugh, she’d go to a comedy show…LOL. Yeah, she was no joke. And seeing her faith, always helped me to anchor into my own. I have different views, but faith is faith – it’s a connection to something greater and her deep belief, helped me come back to my own.
- Crisco, Velveeta and everything in between: My MomMom LOVED anything unhealthy and whiskey…haha. A true Irish woman. Although, I firmly believe Crisco is not a real food or FDA approved as such, she ate it…often. And lived to be 96, so the lesson here is, enjoy your food, prepare it with love and love it going down and your body will too!
Here’s a few pics of this magical lady!
MomMom, I love you! Thank you for all you taught me and for now being my wing woman in heaven!
I hope in this you’re reminded of mother figures in your life, from our Mother’s to, our aunts, friends, grandmothers and more. Women are wise and powerful and in each of us are generations of lessons.
Please share in our DWD group your favorite life lessons you learned from a woman in your life!
May we all honor one another in true sisterhood ❤️