Grandparents are special people, and it’s not too often you meet someone who has had a grandparent live over 100 years. I am one of the fortunate ones. Not only did she surpass 100, she made it to 108.
I have sat with my great grandmother, Clifford Earls, for hours sitting captivated by her fascinating stories over the years. I can say that her life has strengthened, inspired, and taught me many things.
Even though some days she may have been tired and not feeling her best, you would have never known it. I never heard her grumble or complain all of these years. Instead, she always laughed, joked, and told the most hilarious and animated stories that would make you laugh until you cried. She taught me to be happy and always keep laughter and joy in my life.
From nieces to nephews, cousins, grand, great-grand, and great great-grandchildren, she was always surrounded by family and knew she was loved. Her birthdays were a major event. There was always a steady stream of visitors, gifts, and an influx of calls. President Obama even sent her a personal letter wishing her a happy birthday and photograph which absolutely made her day. She taught me to always make time for family. Life is too short to be holding grudges and harboring unforgiveness. Make amends with loved ones, because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
She has seen her share of pain, perilous and hard times, and dangerous situations. I recall a story she told me about a face to face encounter with the KKK that would literally give you chills. She would often say, “I don’t know why the good Lord sees fit to have me still here.” Nevertheless, she didn’t worry. She made the most of her days and enjoyed life. She taught me that nothing good comes from worrying or being stressed out.
She was one of the hardest working women I know. She worked hard for many years, cultivating a farm after her husband passed in 1947, raising seven children, and taking care of herself-living alone and cooking all her meals until she was 103. One thing she did not tolerate was an able bodied person who did not work. She would say, “I don’t care where you work just as long as you’re working”. She taught me to value work and utilize my gifts and talents.
I went to visit her yesterday, and she was sleeping peacefully. I sat there in her room-reflecting on all the memories. I am grateful my daughter, her great great-granddaughter, got to meet her when she was 5 months old.
I stroked her forehead and told her how much I loved her. She started to cry. I know she could hear me.
She passed away peacefully this morning-just a week before her 109th birthday. Thank you granny for the legacy you left and for all you taught me.