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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: My Gram
By Lauryn Abbott


My Gram is an amazing woman. At 86 years young, she still gets around very well and is quite active. One of her interests and activities is being a deacon in her church and helping to take care of the ‘old people’ – most of which are younger than her! She has lived a long and often times difficult life, has buried one child and two husbands, and has always loved the Lord. My Gram has been a caretaker for her children, grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren and while doing so, has somehow managed to maintain her sanity, optimism and sense of humor.

Mary Ann Jones-Shoman-Hansen was born in Wisconsin in 1921. While she was a little girl, her father died in a well accident. Her older sister, Dorothy, was severely beaten by a group of boys coming home from school one day (no one is sure why) and suffered sever mental retardation after that time. Her mother had a mental breakdown shortly thereafter and after it was determined that she was unable to properly care for her children. My Gram and her older sister were taken away and placed in a children’s home for a time. After that time my Gram was sent to live with a foster family and her sister Dorothy was institutionalized.

Life got better for my Gram after she was placed with this good family and she was able to maintain a relationship with her mother and sister, neither of which ever really recovered from their mental problems. She grew up, met and married my grandfather, Les, (who she couldn’t stand at first!) and began her own life. She had five children of her own, two girls and three boys. One boy died at the age of five when he was hit by a big truck while crossing the road. It was just a few days before Christmas.

Her life was never easy. Money was always short. She and my grandfather moved to Arizona in the early 70’s, due to my grandfather’s poor health. They brought my mother and I with them. She became the sole breadwinner when we moved to Arizona. While the warm, dry climate helped him, my grandfather never recovered and he died 8 years later, from emphysema and cancer.

Several years after my grandfather died, she met a wonderful man at church and remarried. While she never stopped loving my grandfather, Mel truly was the love of her life. Her life with Mel was the best and most carefree time she’d ever had and she had eight amazing years with him. They were always like two teenagers in love and their happiness was evident to all. Travel was a favorite for them and they did a lot of it. Sadly, he left her way too soon and she still misses him immensely.

I was always close to my maternal grandparents, but especially my Gram. She has always loved me unconditionally and been there for me whenever I needed her. She introduced me to God when I was just a little girl. She truly was a safe harbor for me when I was growing up in an unhealthy and dysfunctional environment. I have no doubt that I would be a very different person if I had not had her in my life. She has taught me so much and when I look at her, it is with love, respect and admiration. She and I remain very close to this day and I was so proud to introduce her to my own daughter when she was born.

I know that someday my Gram will leave me and go on to meet her Lord and Savior. She will reunite with her beloved Mel and my grandfather Les. At that time her bones won’t creak or hurt and her hearing and eyesight will be better. And it will be easier for her to play Bingo and eat her salt-water taffy! I know that saying goodbye to her will be one of the most difficult things I’ll ever have to do. But I also know that it is more like a ‘see you later’ than a ‘goodbye’. For now though, I’ll just treasure the time I have with her, love her with all my heart and continue to share her with my daughter.

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This article has been read 681 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 04/12/08
A really nice tribute to "Gram" - and one little thing I might mention. A female Deacon is called a Deaconess(sp), I believe. Otherwise, really beautiful thoughts and an honor to a great lady. Very nice.
Joshua Janoski04/13/08
What a strong grandmother you have. To be able to endure so much growing up an still keep her sense of humor and love of life is amazing. You are blessed to have her, and she is blessed to have you.

Thank you for giving me some insight into your grandmother's life. I really enjoyed reading this.
Chely Roach04/14/08
What an amazingly strong woman your Gram is. A lovely tribute to her...
Joy Faire Stewart04/14/08
You have been truly blessed with a wonderful grandmother. I enjoyed the lovely tribute to her.
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
Nicely written. It's obvious how dear your gram is to you.
Dee Yoder 04/15/08
You really did a good job introducing your special grandmother to us! God has surely been by her side, for she has had to handle a lot of difficult situations. Your shared from your heart and that is very evident in this entry.
LauraLee Shaw04/15/08
Yes, it was a "see-ya later." Isn't that cool? I think the same thing about my mom. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard04/16/08
What a remarkable woman your Grandmother is. It's great that you are still in contact with her and that you share your daughter with her. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 04/16/08
What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother! This is so transparent, I can 'feel' how much she means to you in this short piece. It gave me goosebumps as I read it. Thanks for sharing! ^_^
Debbie Wistrom04/16/08
A few of these entries made me tear up, yours ins one of them. what a special lady and how fortunate you are. Keep writing.
Tim Pickl04/16/08
What a blessing to have such a heritage to pass on to the next generation! Precious memories, how they linger...