My beautiful Grandmother Alice Collins passed away on Tuesday. She would have been 100 years old on the 21st.
It is hard to describe just who my Grandma was to me. An inspiration to be sure. I would not describe her as tender or gentle, though she was both of those at their proper moment. I would not describe her as overly humble, though a genuine humility permeated her living. I would not describe her as feisty really, though she was so in all the right amounts, and as comedically as possible to put you at ease. Grandma was full of so much grace. Grace is how I will remember her. Grace and gratitude.
Her grace was available to anyone, and grace and gratefulness was how she lived her life. As my dad said, "No one could not-like Grandma Collins. You couldn't help but love her."
Now, I did not know my Grandma when she was younger, raising her children, being a wife. I only knew her as a woman so gracefully aging. Through knee replacements, minor illnesses, a couple scares, but an overall strong constitution, and a body slowly, slowly growing so old (and she would often agree that she was quite old!). She did all of this in perfect balance. The grace to accept her capability and need, the control to be in charge of her well-being as she first knew it was time to sell her home and move on to places where she could receive increasing assistance. Somehow always submitting with a cheerful heart to time and ability. Somehow maintaining a joy and gratitude in life as one by one her family and friends passed on before her. Always open to the prospect of friendship and the opportunity to treat others with kindness--even if that was limited to demeanor and expression in her later years.
Her life was full. And she did it with grace. She received it with gratitude.
For me, the end of her life has a couple regrets. Just the simple regret that time and distance made visiting an impossibility, or at least more difficult that I was willing to hurdle. Her hard of hearing, and my prolonged absence, made phone calls difficult as she seemed not quite able to figure out which grandchild I was. Perhaps I was too sensitive, and really, I know she would have told me so. Told me to not worry so much about an 'old lady'. Still, I would wonder when I heard an update of her if I was slowly slipping from her memory. I don't know, but I sure have thought of her a lot. And, I am glad of the promise that I will see her again in heaven, and that when I do I will not need to say the words "you are an inspiration to me," because she will see it so simply in my face.
I miss her. I have missed her. And I am so happy for her to be Home now.