I have written about my uncle a couple of years ago after he passed away and mentioned my grandmother in that piece, noting that her story needs to be told as well. I wanted to write a tribute to a woman who leaves behind a rich legacy. Not one of money or things but of love, humility and a whole lot of perseverance in the face of adversity.
My grandmother was a simple woman. She was one of 9 children and was one of the youngest, born in 1912. She had little more than a 3rd grade education and Cajun French was her first language. She grew up in the great depression, lost her dad at a young age and married very young. Agnes was her name. Agnes had 7 children – all boys and 1 girl – my mother (who is the youngest). She buried one of her twin boys at the tender age of 3. When pregnant for my mother and a house full of young boys her husband left her and never looked back. She was poor and uneducated and had many mouths to feed in a time when the economy was not booming and opportunities weren’t abundant. Her family encouraged her to place her children in foster care but she refused! She fiercely loved her children and was determined to keep them together. The older boys got jobs to help, she worked several jobs and GOD always provided – sometimes by an anonymous delivery of milk or by the local grocer allowing her a little line of credit to purchase her groceries or even by keeping all those children safe from broken bones or sickness (as she had no health insurance or money for medicine). She was steadfast and faithful. She was strong and determined even in the fragility of her status of single mother of 6. I of course am relying on the stories and information my mother and uncles have provided to me about who she was in those young years of her life.
What I remember first hand from having her deeply embedded in my life as a young girl was she was a gentle and humble soul who was so very thankful for everything in her life. She spent a great deal of time on her knees in prayer and was never bitter about her plight in life. She found the greatest joy in her family and was a constant source of LOVE – unconditional love for her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. She always had something to eat for me or anyone that stopped by to visit, she was the first in line to help me out when I needed and did the same for many – although she had little to give she offered her sweet help in any way she could. She taught me how to cook and I learned through her the true meaning of hospitality. She had many friends, most of which she outlived. Upon her death, she packed the house…. People from all over and from varying generations came to pay their respects to this woman who had little to offer this worldly place but made a huge impact on people with her kindness and humility.
My grandmother persevered through some of the most devastating hardships one could imagine. She pressed on to live her best life – surrounded by the people she loved the most. She never spoke ill of those that hurt her, she always tried to find the good, the upside to them and she always encouraged forgiveness – through her words and her actions. You just don’t get a better example than this….. Throughout the bible GOD uses the poor and the broken to deliver his message and bring glory to HIM….. that truth is playing out right here for me in this moment. I have a real life example of the sweetest person I know preserving through difficult valleys to live a beautiful life – and she had greater challenges than me to overcome. When I think about her and her life it renews my drive to preserve through my own valleys and overflows my spirit with thankfulness that I am part of the legacy she leaves behind.
I know when she got to Heaven God said to her… Well done my good and faithful one!