16 September 2008

The Best Teacher I Ever Had

It's taken me several days to figure out what to say here.  On Monday, I lost my true role model, my grandma.   

Suffice to say, I have nothing witty or cute to say right now.  I just want to share the lessons I learned from her that I will always carry with me.

1. Be confident, but humble.  My grandmother was not one to take praise, and she would shrug off most compliments she received.  And yet, she had a quite confidence and anyone who met her knew that she was comfortable in her skin and knew her capabilities.  I hope to find this balance.

2. Be selfless.  If I had to choose one word to describe my grandmother, this would be it.  After she turned 90, she finally started to let me people help her, even if it was more out of necessity than willingness.  She would do anything to help another person.  Anything.  Even in her last days, when she was in the hospital and struggling, she was concerned about my Mom getting enough sleep, my schoolwork, and my sister's comfort.  Down to the last moment she was worried about others. 

3. Be strong.  No one can ever compare to the amount of strength my grandma had.  She raised her brothers and sisters, worked during WWII, raised a family, worked, raised her grandchildren, and never once complained.  She showed her strength the most during times of grief.  When her youngest brother (who was almost like a child to her) passed away, she held her family together.  We often called her "command central" because she was the glue in the family.  She kept us going.  She was stronger than all of us put together and then some. 

4. You are better than no one else, and no one is better than you.  She truly lived as her brother's keeper...and yet she had the quiet confidence.  She constantly told my sister and I how we could do anything we wanted to, as long as we didn't step on toes along the way.  She wanted us to believe that we could be successful, but she also wanted us to reach that success with integrity. 

5. Family first.  A job is just a job, money doesn't make you happy.  He who has the most stuff...just has a lot of stuff.  Rich people aren't any happier than we are.  Family and friends are the things that really bring happiness and support.  Whenever I needed to be brought back down to earth (especially during my Vandy days), she could do it.  From her, I have learned to live more simply. 

6. Don't cuss, and don't talk badly about others.  I can truly say that I never heard her say a curse word...or a bad word about someone else.  To her, there was no reason for either.  The worst thing I ever heard her say was about Giada de Laurenis:  "I don't think think that smile is genuine."  

7. If all else fails, eat some dessert.  Until her very last day, she was cheered by the prospect of dessert.  Even if it is the worst day, a sweet will make it better.  She really didn't care if she was a 10 instead of an 8, she was going to eat her pie and ice cream (as long as it wasn't pumpkin).  Life really was sweet for her. 

She was truly the best teacher I've ever had.  I miss her already.  

Time for some dessert...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. You are very lucky to have known your Grandma so well, and to have so much to take with you now that she is gone. That's how we really live - through our legacy.

legaleagle2009 said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I really can't imagine how it must be, especially when she sounds like such a beautiful woman. Her memory will live through you and the lessons you learned from her and those you pass on to others.