Happy 100th Birthday to Us, Grandma!

witter (ˈwɪtə)
vb – (often foll by: on) to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length
n – pointless chat; chatter

COLLINS ENGLISH DICTIONARY – COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED, 12TH EDITION 2014 © HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

happy 100th birthday grandma

My grandmother was born on July 14th, 1921. She grew up during the depression right down the street from the man who would one day become her husband. She served as an Army Nurse during World War 2 on the front lines, cared for soldiers in both England and then France. She battled cancer in her twenties and defied her eight-month life expectancy to outlive all her doctors by decades. Grandma was larger than life, as my big brother reminisced with me earlier today. She was the kind of person who left an impression in everyone’s life she encountered. 


I was born on July 14th, over sixty years after my grandma, the best birthday present she ever had, she would later tell me. Every year, without fail, Grandma and I would celebrate our birthdays together. Every memory of my birthday growing up into adulthood was surrounded by her larger than life love and happiness. She made everything better in every little way, I would later learn. After she was gone.

The last birthday Grandma and I shared together, we joked as we always did, that she wasn’t turning 91, I was. She was turning 24 instead. Grandma loved flowers, and since she’d moved to an assisted living home, she hadn’t been able to garden. So for her 24th birthday, and my 91st, I bought her eight bouquets of fresh flowers. I wrote her a poem (I’m an awful poet, but she loved it anyway) and read it aloud to her. She gifted me with countless hugs and kisses and so much love in the way that always filled me up. No matter how much I might have been hurting or struggling in life, Grandma showed me how to live with happiness and a smile. Even after she’d lost the love of her life.

In 2013, I lost my grandma. It was her time to go home, to be with my grandpa again. Our birthday was only a week away. 

That birthday, that year, I celebrated with my friends, and the man who would later become my husband. I’m convinced that somehow, someway, Grandma sent him to me to help fill that gap she left.

Every year, on my birthday, I miss her afresh with an ache that never truly goes away. I still write her letters, though I haven’t bothered with poetry since our last birthday together. I often wonder if she thinks of me the way I think of her on our special day even now.

This year, I had a dream of Grandma. I dreamed she was young, but somehow old. I dreamed Grandpa was there too with us, in a field so green and beautiful and peaceful, I didn’t want to leave. Grandma held one of the babies I lost in the dream, and then she reached up to hold me too and to tell me that it’s okay. To be happy and to live my life.

I know it was only a dream, a good dream, but still just a dream. But I’ve thought about what she said, and I’ve tried my best to do the thing I promised her before waking up. I promise to live my life with the same courage and determined happiness she did, no matter what. I’ll do it for Grandma, for my little boy who did his best to make up for all the hugs she once gave me, and also myself. Don’t we all deserve to let ourselves be happy? 


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Goals for this week

  1. Finish my book (soooo close!)

  2. Reach the halfway point in Chamber of Secrets with my boy 😀

  3. Rest so you don’t throw out your back again, Jenn…


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