She exudes more love, compassion and grace in one look than some people show in a lifetime. Her walls are lined with stories, each one a precise gift in her life, a part of her family. Even when age started to tear at her awareness, she always treated everyone with warmth and acceptance. As I watched her during her times of memory loss, she remind me of a pure soul who was happy to share her home with everyone who came to visit.
We take for granted that which we think will last forever.
Her strongest trait is her faith in God, in both her and her children I see an authentic love for God. Not the kind of love that you show when people are watching, but the unabashed love that spills out when no one is watching. And the kind of love that is made through tiny gestures, that may seem trivial, but in reality are remarkable because the act of kindness is specifically tailored for that recipients needs. The act of kindness can range from something as simple as an acknowledgment to providing something of monetary value.
In all things strive to be kind.
One of the things she cherished the most were children, no matter the age. When a child stopped by for a visit her face would light up like the brightest summer day. To her it didn’t matter if the child had visited a million time or if it was their first visit. To her, that child was the specialist person in the world and deserved her undivided attention. That is why everyone always loved visiting her, because you always left feeling like you were important.
Leave people with a feeling of acknowledgement, let them know you care.
I was once told a story about her and a stray dog. Here is what I remember from the story in her child’s perspective:
“Since I was a little girl mom has been feeding stray dogs because they were so thin and she felt bad for them. Each day mom would collect the scraps/leftovers from their meals in an old steel pan. After dinner, mom would take that steel pan outside then place it on the front porch, that is how we knew mom was putting food out for a stray she had seen. Mom carried this same tradition on for many years when she would see a dog in her yard. Many years later while visit mom, I noticed that she sat that steel pan on the porch after dinner. We sat around and talked, after awhile we heard the pan on the porch clanking around, so we peeked out the window to see the dog mom had been feeding. Let me tell you that was the prettiest red fur I had ever seen, but it wasn’t a dog. Mom had actually been putting leftovers out for a wild fox.”
The act of “doing” is what matters most.
She loved cooking, pictures, game shows, hot baths, taking care of others, traveling, and going to church. She gave the sweetest hugs and she was the best cook in the world. I say cook because that is the term she would have used, I really think she was a culinary master. Every thanksgiving at her house was like a 5 star gourmet Southern meal. She had a small kitchen with a single oven, which must have been magic, because the number of dishes that came out of that oven and off of that stove were nothing short of a miracle. I know I’m not the only one who felt this way.
Live a simple life full of greatness.
In her younger days, as a wife and mother, she cleaned houses to support her growing family. In her later years she helped her children by caring for her grandchildren and helping them through their family life. She is the type of person that would give a stranger her last dollar if she believed they needed it. That may sound extreme but she was so blessed that that money would come back to her ten fold.
Selflessness is a state of being.
This woman I have been speak of is Sarah James, I call her GrandmaSis, and she means the world to me. Her life was one of simplicity and greatness. She is rich in so many ways: generosity, friendship, spirit, family, knowledge, wisdom, sincerity, peace, faith, hope, and love. “… but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13