For as long as I could remember, my grandma was always there.
In her late 50s by the time I can first remember her, she was as vibrant and alive as any person I had ever met.
If something was going on, my grandma was there. When I was younger, she lived about 10 minutes from us, right in the heart of Olathe. She traveled to Europe. She collected baseball cards. She collected decorative plates. She spent weeks at a time living in an RV with my aunt and uncle at the Missouri State Fair.
She made close to 100 latch-hook rugs — some that could cover a queen-size bed and take months to complete.
She devoured life, often 12 ounces at a time if you know what I mean. Oh, how she loved her adult beverages. I couldn’t wait until I was legal to share a cold one with Grandma. That’s what grandchildren are for, she used to say with a laugh, to bring me a beer.
She fell back in love with the sport of basketball. It was a bit different than when she was playing in bloomers for New Cambria High School in north-central Missouri in the late ’30s, though. This time she was part of the cheering section for my younger sister’s AAU basketball team, the Kansas Belles. If there was a game, she was there — in Olathe, in Columbia, Mo., in Minnesota or in New Orleans, she was there. There were very few basketball road trips without Grandma.
She was everywhere and loved every second of everything she did.
Nothing could slow her down.
Well, there was one thing. The one thing that Grandma Margaret couldn’t hide from, like everyone, was time.
We lost Grandma on Jan. 17, just five days after we celebrated her 96th birthday with her.
That final day was tough. She was ready, though. She hadn’t been Grandma for a couple of months. Her mind was able, but her body was not holding up its end of the bargain.
We all got to see her just hours before she died. My dad, mom and Nancy, a close family friend, were there with her when she died. While I’m thankful that those three with her, I’m most thankful that my dad was at his mother’s side when she died.
While it was tough to hear the news, we expected it. We knew the time was coming. That made it easier.
We can mourn, but it’s hard to be sad. Even mourning is hard. How can you be sad or mourn when someone lives to be 96? It’s almost selfish to be sad. Oh, we can miss her — and we do — but to be sad and mournful just isn’t right.
Especially for someone who lived life so completely and utterly to the fullest. I’m so happy to have been able to share my life with my Grandma. I’m so happy that she was able to be around so long to share so much of her life with me and my family.
She got to know my gorgeous wife, Aisha, and out beautiful children. The three little ones may not realize it now or for a while, but they will get to see the pictures of themselves in her arms and get to hear all the stories I have to tell them.
And every time I tell one of those stories, it will be with a smile on my face.