On February 18th, 2018 the world lost a beautiful soul in my great-grandmother. Kind, smart, and sarcastic as heck, she left my family with a hole that will forever be impossible to fill. Sixteen years is a long time to have with a great relative and I’ll forever be blessed with the memories associated with the little lady and her big heart.
Point Marion, Pennsylvania is a town with approximately 1,126 people normally, but 1,130 people at Easter time when my family would head on down to celebrate. I remember being 6 years old and walking to church with my gram when she reminded me to never step on the cracks in the sidewalk, “you’ll break your mother’s back.” There was humor in her eyes as she said it, but fear in mine as I remembered all the times I’d stepped on sidewalk cracks before. How in the world was my mom still alive??!! Gram didn’t say anything at my facial expression, just laughed and kept walking.
My mother is actually the reason I’m writing this in the first place. During the calling hours, we were sitting there and she looked over at me and my sister and said, “You know your gram wanted to go to business school.” She didn’t say anything after that, just looked away, and we all continued with the next few days, but what she said got stuck in my mind. A week later, I’m sitting here writing this post, and I decided to learn more about this business school thing. I called my grandmother and brought it up again asking if my own mom was correct in her small statement. Of course she was right, as I’m learning moms tend to be.
Right out of high school, my great-grandmother had received a scholarship to what we now call a business school. She turned down the opportunity at a college education to take care of her own mother who was very sick. Once she was married, Gram ended up taking a job at West Virginia University Hospital where she was highly admired. My Nunni laughed as she recalled all the times at the hospital they would ask her for advice and assistance. My Gram was quite the performer and starred in a few drama club productions too. The lady could even play the violin and was in her high school symphony. This reminded me of the times my own house has been filled with the horrific sound of the violin my dad bought for himself because he woke up one day and wanted to know how to play. He swears it’s a fiddle, not a violin, and at this point no one has the heart to argue with him.
My dad and his “fiddle” actually bring our small little trip down memory lane full circle. My great-grandmother lived her life for her family and proved everyday the importance of having each others backs. These past few weeks have brought me an even bigger appreciation for the people around me. An appreciation for the mornings I wake up and see my sister wearing my shirt. An appreciation for my best friend’s obnoxious laugh and my grandma’s need to remind me how good salad is for you. For the nights when the whole family somehow ends up in my room when all I wanted was to go to sleep, and the mornings when my mom reminds me that the roads might be bad even though it’s 70 degrees and sunny. Most importantly, however, these weeks have brought me a huge appreciation for my great-grandmother and the impact she will forever leave on my life. I mean even now I still avoid a big sidewalk crack if I spot one, you know, for my mother’s sake.