My great-grandmother passed away a few hours ago. Today was her 104th birthday.
When I first got the phone call, my immediate concern was for my mother, who was especially close to her. After I finished that phone call, I spent some time reflecting on my experience with my great-grandmother.
Four years ago, I drove down to celebrate her 100th birthday. For a moment, she was sitting alone, so I walked over to talk to her. We made some small talk. I told her that I loved her. She said, “My memory isn’t so good anymore, and I’m not sure I know who you are, but I know that I love you, too.” She was 100. I’ll cut her some slack.
Then I asked her, “What do I have to do to make it to 100?”
“You need a clear mind,” she said, pointing to my head. I told her that I wasn’t sure what she meant. She elaborated, “Love God, love people, live with no regrets.”
I wasn’t there when she passed away. My family tells me that they sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and within minutes she had taken her last breath. She was one of the strongest, kindest women I have known. Her impact on my mother, especially in her faith, has ensured our family tree generations of faithfulness. We miss her already, but we are thankful for the many years we got to spend with her, and the knowledge that we get to see her again a long time from now (we are hoping her longevity is hereditary).
104 years is a long time. She lived through both World Wars, the Great Depression, and through the tenure of seventeen presidents. I bet if I asked her, she’d say it goes by in the blink of an eye. Because it doesn’t matter how many years you live, even if you live to be 104, life is short.
Love God . Love people. Live with no regrets.
Thank you for your legacy, Great Grandma. Happy Birthday.