Grandmothers are one of the most sacred parts of the family structure. In some cases, the grandmother also takes on the role of the child’s mother. Their wisdom gained through years of rearing children and watching them grow into adults gives them a unique perspective of life. My maternal grandmother, Jean Williams Franks (November 18, 1934-February 14, 2017) departed from this earth on Valentine’s Day at the age of eighty-three. She died peacefully at home after two years of declining health. She resisted to the end but was unable to overcome the conditions that continued to plague her. She is survived by many relatives, friends and others who knew her in passing.
This blog is for book reviews and this post will seem unusual but there are a couple of reasons why it is her. You see, my grandmother was a secretary for several decades at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She was an excellent typist and highly detailed. And she encourage all of us to focus on our reading and writing skills. Her home always had its share of books. In fact, I have one of her most-cherished; a book from the famed Pan Am Airlines that was published in 1958. In addition, she also had in her possession, license plates from the states of New York and New Jersey that were over forty years in age. To say that she was nostalgic would be an understatement.
In addition to her interest in reading and writing, she also allowed me to perfect my typing skills through the endless use of her computers as I moved through college. She would hear me typing and comment here and there on what I need to work on. I will never forget her admonishment towards my brother and I to drink more water and use our minds. Today, I do both of these extensively. Travel was one of her true passions and from her, I have gained my love of traveling which has influence my selection of reading material that appears on this blog. Whenever I saw her, she would always ask how long it would be before I was out of the country yet again. No matter where I was going, she was always happy that I was going somewhere. Throughout her life, she never let anything stop her from seeing the world and she truly loved people. Conversation was her love and she engaged anyone who was willing to listen and respond. Tomorrow she will be laid to rest and that act will be the final stage in the changing of the guard for my aunt and mother will now assume the roles that she once assumed.
The beauty in her life was that she gave something to everyone that she met in many different forms. Though she never was able to really see this blog, I know she would be thrilled that her first-born grandchild had tapped into the gifts of reading and writing to apply them towards a positive cause. As I write, I can see her smiling in satisfaction that her endless efforts to keep us on the right track did in fact pay off over time. And in the future, as I continue to write, she will appear in my thoughts repeatedly. She is no longer in pain and has moved to a place which we all shall see one day. But until then, we will serve ourselves best by living the life that we have and enjoying each day.
Tupac Shakur once said “death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive”. Our time on this earth is limited and we do not know when we will take our last breath. We come into the world, learn from those who are already here and through our experiences as we age and mature. And at some point, we leave behind our friends, family and those who we have crossed paths with. But our actions, words and thoughts stay behind and live on in the memories of those we have touched. And in that sense, we all have the ability to live forever.