“The people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive.” Robert Montgomery
As many of you probably know, in this past month both my Grandma Gardner and Great-Uncle Jerry passed away. They were both fascinating, endlessly interesting people that I learned so much from and who I strive to live like.
Anyone who knew my grandma I feel would agree with me that her quick wit and determination are two of her characteristics that immediately come to mind when remembering her life.
My grandma was
funny. Even on days when she was feeling very ill and it was easy to see how much effort it took just to sit and talk, she would still have the whole room laughing. Her desire for everyone around her to be in good spirits, enjoying themselves despite what she was going through is something I will always admire about her.
My grandma’s determination though is really the thing I feel luckiest to have learned from her (possibly because there is no hope in me ever becoming as funny and quick witted as she was). Once my grandma set her mind on something she would do whatever it took to reach that goal. She was such a wonderful example for me as to how a strong, independent woman can overcome anything standing in her way.
The thing that I will always remember the most about my grandma is how when you were with her, no matter where you were, you felt at home. Her presence was like a giant hug that was all at once comforting, empowering, and so immensely loving. I feel so blessed to have had such an amazing woman as my very own grandmother. She is truly unforgettable.
I didn’t have the opportunity throughout my life to spend as much time with my Uncle Jerry as I did with my grandma, but I really cherish the time that I got to spend with such a kind, caring man. In many ways, my Great-Uncle Jerry was like my third Grandpa.
As a kid, I always loved during the summer when my family would spend long weekends at my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Pat’s lake house. My Uncle Jerry had a way of making you feel so welcome in their home that it was as if you had lived there your whole life, rather than just being a weekend guest. He had one of the warmest spirits I have ever encountered. Uncle Jerry was always smiling and had this relaxed approach to life that I think is the reason I never once saw him upset or angry about anything. He knew what was important and that wasting energy on negativity wasn’t something he had room for in his life. I am so lucky to have had him as a relative and to have had the opportunity to learn from his gentle example.
The quote at the beginning of this entry is from a piece of artwork by Robert Montgomery. I will never stop missing my Grandma or Uncle Jerry, but I really do feel like I have bits of them inside of me and that they will in some way always be with me despite the lack of their physical presence.
Grandma and Uncle Jerry - I love you and miss you both so much.