This past weekend, I celebrated my birthday with my extended family and another very special birthday girl, my Grandma Hanky.
I turned 28, Hanky turned 81.
Throughout those 81 years, my grandma’s life has been filled with six crazy kids, 13 equally crazy grand-kids and a whole lot of love. When I think of Hanky, many happy thoughts come to mind: her gentle and kind nature, a passionate love for all things Christmas, waking up at her house in Wisconsin to a buffet of cereal and French toast sticks, the smell of her laundry room, her love of Frank Sinatra that she passed on to me, and knowing that I can count on her for wise words when I need it.
She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We no longer visit her at the home she nurtured us in, conversations have become a bit more repetitive and I now have to re-introduce myself to my sweet grandma. It has been hard to watch her memory slowly fade away. But, my family and I know that there is plenty of wisdom that still remains.
A few weeks ago, my step-dad sat down with his mom and asked her some questions on video. It is a priceless gift that we will cherish forever. She offered simple but steadfast wisdom that I would love to share with you:
Take care of people — when you help others, you help yourself
A mother’s (and grandmother’s) love is forever
Do what you can, as much as you can
Lastly, my step-dad asked, “How do you stay so positive?”
Hanky responded, “Just like that.”
She is happy. Let’s all be happy—it’s a beautiful thing.