Today my Grandma Mary Louise (who I share a middle name with) turned 98 years old. 1914 was the year of her birth making her part of the traditionalist generation.. WWI was in play; she lived through the depression, prohibition, WWII, and several other wars and conflicts. She raised 12 children. She saw the introduction of the television, the color television, and the Internet (she used to have an email account).
I love that my Grandma enjoys her birthday and embraces celebrating. As our matriarch she is a rock. She had a party at my Aunt and Uncle’s where for three hours she hosted her family. She is sharp as a tact in knowing her family and her history. We talked about her home where she lives with my Aunt. There is a bull fighter and bull statue that are on a set of shelves that I swear she has owned my entire life. There are things that are consistent and things that always change at her house. I like to think about this fighter and bull statue and how much it means to her, how that for over 40 years it’s been a part of her life and mine. What people carry through their life helps define them.
I wrote about the fact that we live as long as we need to. Grandma is a connector. She keeps our family together and loves to be around people. I think too often we take for granted how she’s aged and what an event it is. My Retired Boomer Aunts and Uncles posed for pictures with her, some of them approaching the age of 70. I think about that if Social Security is there by the time this Gen Xer can cash in I will be their age and maybe just retiring. Grandma has railroad retirement, I’m proud to watch my aunts and uncles live our their personal plans in retirement. This inspires me to plan for tomorrow, or maybe another 55 + years of tomorrows.
So we can plan for our future and live healthy and try to be wealthy and even be wise. While I think all those things are important maybe what is more important is to live our life with purpose. Live in the service of those around us. For some that will be immediate family, for others the focus may be more global or broad. We each have a role that we are destined to master. So dang, if we all have this then why do some babies get cancer, why do some die in accidents and how are their purposes served? I get to question this as two days ago would have been my mom’s birthday, born two days before her own mother’s birthday.
I continue my belief in we all live as long as we need to. My mom lived with purpose and was wise, wealthy and healthy up until she got the ‘healthy person’s cancer’ that one gets for no reason. I learned from her live my life with more truth. I learned about dying. I learned that love trumps regret. I learned that I can remain connected to a person regardless of their location. I can’t say what mom’s purpose was but I know how much she gives to me through her life regardless of its length.
And Grandma who is full of life, she provides my family connection. She exists with purpose to teach more living healthy, wealthy and wise.