Friday, May 2, 2014


They leave me.
Especially on days like today.

I received a phone call from my dad that his mom, my Nonie, passed away.

Three grandparents in two years.
Granddaughter is no longer a role I have the privilege of playing.
The heaviness of that reality is not lost on me.

My Nonie.
So much life.  So much love.
It was an honor for us, her family, to share her with the world because no one loved as fierce as this sweet woman.  No one lived life to the fullest as much as she did.  No one walked through good times and bad with more grace than my Nonie.

She never confused the roles she played (wife, mom, widow, full-time caregiver, etc.) from the person she was.  She had the ability to give 100% of herself to everyone she met while still staying true to herself.  She had the gift of loving people so well that it made you feel like you were her most favorite person.  It was a gift that she willing gave to everyone who crossed her path.  Watching her interact with people taught me that everyone is worthy of love and acceptance.  She didn't see age, race, religion, gender or sexual preference.  She saw your heart and loved you right where you were.  No matter what decisions you made, good or bad, she never let you out of her circle of love.

Pure Jesus love.

She had the gift of hospitality.  Stop by her house any time of any day and her front door would be unlocked and open, inviting you in for a visit.  Step in the front door, say "hello", and she would appear from somewhere in the house and greet you in a way that made you feel like she was waiting on you the whole time.  It didn't matter if she was in the middle of a television show, reading the paper, doing laundry or washing dishes, the minute you arrived there was nothing more important to her than you.  Nothing!

Talk of her next trip, her next adventure, was always something you could count on.  When I graduated from high school, she gave me a set of luggage.  To me, it was like she was sharing a part of herself that brought her great joy.  The gift of luggage was her charge to have fun, to live life, to make memories, to see the world.  Traveling has a way of changing you.  It can help you see how big and amazing the world is and it's a great reminder that you are not the center of it.

My Nonie.
She was an amazing storyteller and was one of the funniest people I knew.  Her sense of humor was laced with sarcasm and was passed down to all four of her children.  Watching them all interact was pure entertainment.  They had nothing but the highest honor and respect their mom and she simply adored each one of them!

We have been grieving the loss of my Nonie for several years as Alzheimer's slowly took away the best parts of her.  The parts that made her her.  Alzheimer's is a cruel disease, especially to someone who lived their life to connect with people, to pour out love, and to make people laugh.

I want to be just like my Nonie.
I want to start each day with a cup of coffee and end it with a bowl of ice cream.
I want to love with fierce, unconditional love.
I want to make everyone I meet feel like they're my favorite.
I want my people to know that my door is always open.
I want to see life as an adventure and always find a reason to pack a suitcase.
I want to love on babies and care for the elderly so they will know they're precious.
I want to forever be true to who God made and gifted me to be.

When I grow up,
I want to be just like my Nonie because my Nonie looked a whole lot like Jesus.

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