Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: My Gram
By Lauryn Abbott
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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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