“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.” ― Sigmund Freud
I have never been one to throw around the word admiration, I feel in this day and age we have too many people that use [it] flippantly. Our society seems to get caught up in Hollywood characters and political heads, and don’t get me wrong, I do as well. But, when I hear someone say (in a tone of awe), “I admire…” in reference to this figure they don’t even know– Let’s just say I get a bit annoyed! In my opinion, they are all doing a good job admiring themselves, patting each other on the backs and throwing a myriad of awards and ceremonies at one another. They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can find you admiration.
In my life I believe I have only ever truly admired one person. Although many have made it to the runners-up position, one holds the place of honor. She knew me all my life and in adulthood became a dear friend. This person was my grandmother or Gram as I fondly donned her. An exceptional lady, full of spunk, wisdom and endless stories. If you were to ask me to tell you why I admire her, I’m not sure that I could truly put a finger on the reason. Like choosing a favorite dessert, picking a favorite moment, well there just isn’t one.
A few elements of my Gram. She was raised the middle child, the rose between two thorns. She grew up in Marblehead, MA, which is now quite prestigious (although she did not come from wealth). As an outlying Boston town, she visited Boston as a child, with fond memories of baseball games with her father. She traveled as a young woman to NY City and lived there for a time. She married my Gramps and together they traveled the world, as he had a career in the Air Force. Along their journeys she had three children, one of whom is my mom. Eventually, retiring from military life, they chose Vermont to return to.
“It’s not the beauty of a person you should admire. It is the purity of heart that deserves your admiration.” ― Karon Waddell
I had never lived near my grandparents as a child. However, they had played positive roles in my life as a constant presence. Early in my marriage, my husband and I moved to the same city as them. At that time my grandparents had been married for nearly 50 years, surely something to admire! The time that I was given to spend with Gram over the next 13 years was immeasurable in value. She taught me to cook, bake, sew, crochet and so much more. We had so many similar likes and dislikes, I could just talk with her for hours. And, oh the stories! Both my children were also blessed to have her as their “GG.”
During the end of her life I was blessed to spend time with her regularly. Many are certainly not given this gift. She was able to make sure my children, husband and I knew her love for us. She was able to inspire us in our life ahead. And keeping with her wittiness to the very end, reminded me- “Michelle, life is like a roll of toilette paper, the closer you get to thee end, the faster it goes!” I felt she always encouraged me to make good use of my time.
Although born years apart, we celebrated our birthdays only days apart. So, every year I am reminded of her on my birthday and the gift of 30+ years I was given with this wonderfully inspiring woman. Her love for her family was insurmountable, she was truly devoted. She and Gramps celebrated their 60th anniversary two months before she died! Even this five years later I still grieve her. She was full of life, love and greatness! She was not perfect, but she overcame many things in life. I miss her, but I am inspired by her and the journey that was her life.
“How wonderful it would be to meet an angel, I mused, but then I immediately realised that I already had. Not an archangel like Saint Michael, but my human angel…” ― Patti Smith