Lately, I have been thinking a lot about family and marriage. I have been lucky enough to have powerful role models in both departments. My parents were married 54 years.
However, they were both products of divorce. My mom’s mom eventually remarried but my dad’s mom never remarried and she was able to raise six children with the help of her parents, my great grandparents.
That is right she had custody of all six of her children. And did I mention that she wasn’t always in the best of health either? Later in life, she became legally blind, but even that did not stop her. She was a force to be reckoned with, living by herself and asking for little help.
That sheer tenacity of hers showed up even more in the last weeks of her life. She was in the hospital with every major organ failing. The doctors were in disbelief how she was still alive. But she had it in her mind that she wanted to see her oldest son, my dad, again before she died. And she did. Less than a week after we visited her in the hospital she passed away. On her terms and in her way, she even said there were people outside waiting to take her away.
I remember this so vividly as my cousin Donna and I were the last relatives to see her alive. She kept telling us that there were people outside waiting to see her and asking if we saw them when we were out in the hallway. We didn’t think anything about it until we had gotten to my cousin’s house and my aunt came through the door telling my dad “That’s Ma’s Gone.”
Yes, she was certainly a strong woman. Not only did she raise six children into adulthood, (oh I forgot to mention that she also had buried two sons before they reached the age of two), so she had eight children total. She is the reason I fight so hard for my family because she was a remarkable role model.