Friday, August 16, 2013

How My Grandma Taught Me to Live...

          I'm one of those people who like to find life lessons in everything.  When someone special is in my life for a long period of time, I like to look at what that person might of taught me in their life.  As somewhat of a nerd, my knowledge and education is something that I cherish because I know no one can ever take it away from me.  When I gain something from someone; I remember it forever.  From my great grandma, I learned that math is really important and every +A deserves a spot on the refrigerator.  From my uncle, I learned that a simple smile or a joke can go a long way in making someone’s day much better.  From my grandma, I’ve learned my fair share of things.

Reading is Sexy.
          My grandma has always been a big proponent to my love of reading.  It was actually her who gave me my first 'grown-up' book which was Harry Potter.  I've also found plenty of pictures where she's reading to me in my little 'footie' pajamas and if that's not sexy I don't know what is.  Through her I've learned that reading can create an entirely new universe that can serve as your 'happy place' when your reality isn't such.  I'm thankful to say she's had a hand in such a big aspect of my life.

Disney Movies Aren't Just For Kids.
          I could always count on several Disney VHS movies every year for Christmas and my birthday. I now have a collection of 150 strong, and I still watch them with my college roommates.  I've come to find that sometimes, during a stressful week, Disney movies are the best kind of medicine.  Whether I'm learning from the ants of "A Bug's Life" or the pride of "The Lion King": I always seem to learn something I needed reminded of.

I'm Wonderful.
          This deserves a little bit of an explanation.  Last year (during school) I came home one weekend to visit and decided to stop by and visit Grandma.  This was before all of her auditory capabilities had been taken away, but most of what she was saying still didn't make any sense.  After visiting for awhile, I decided it was time to leave.  In the midst of my hug, my grandma shocked me by saying, "I think you're just wonderful."  Whenever I feel down or blue, this little line runs through my brain.  According to my Grandma I am wonderful, and who's to disagree with such a smart woman?

Alzheimer's Sucks.
          This is a lesson I wish I never had to learn.  I wouldn't wish what has happened to my grandma or my family on my worst enemy.  For those who don't know, Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease that kills and destroys needed nerve cells in the brain.  As it begins, victims forget newly learned information.  As it progresses, victims begin losing the ability to remember daily activities like brushing teeth or taking pills.  When a patient is near the end of their life, Alzheimer's would have taken away all cognitive ability to speak or react to their environment in anyway.  To put it in simple terms: It's like watching someone lose themselves.  It can destroy a person and/or a family.

Live Everyday for the Present.
          My grandma forgot how to live.  She forgot the people around her.  She forgot me.

          However, she also forgot her mistakes and failures.  She forgot all the horrible things people had ever done to her.  She forgot all of her bad days.  She forgot everything wrong in her life.

She was truly living in the present.  

          As weird as this may seem, I think all of us need to have a little bit of Alzheimer's in our life.  I'm not saying there is anything good about Alzheimer's, but I am saying the concept of forgetting your past is sometimes a virtue.  Some of us spend so much time remembering our mistakes from the past that we don't think to just forget them.  We're so hung-up on our failures that we let the amazing things TODAY pass-by without a second glance.  

          Instead of worrying and thinking about our past mistakes, we need to learn from them and forget. Fretting about the past isn't going to make your present or future any better.  I'm pretty sure no time machines have been invented, so there is truly nothing we can do except to move on.  

          I don't think my grandma even meant to teach me this lesson.  I came to this realization while having my most recent visit with her.  She's not doing well: the last stages of Alzheimer's are running their course.  Looking back, I wish I would have done more and been a better granddaughter; however, I think everyone feels that way in times like this.  What I ask is that you include my grandma and my family in your prayers.  Please pray for a safe and comfortable passage to Heaven for my Grandma, and the push to keep going for my family.

          I also want you to take into consideration what I just wrote.  Take 'The Grandma Challenge'.  Stop worrying about your past mistakes and start living for the present.  Be thankful for today, and don't stress about your failures.  You only live once: Why waste it looking behind you?


  1. This is so heart warming about such a sad thing to happen. But good for you for being strong for her.

  2. Lizzy, this is such a sweet post. I am so sorry for your loss, and you know that I am here for you any time you need me! xoxo BBFF!

    1. Thanks Samantha :D I'm so glad to have you as a BBFF!!!!!