I had a post planned for a couple of days ago but then I received a call from my Mom telling me that my Great Grandma Waack had passed. I've been trying to figure out exactly what to write about her and the thing is, I just can't…. I don't even know where to begin. Nothing I could write would do this woman justice.
How do you find the words to encapsulate someone who lived so many years on this planet? How do you express your gratitude for what you have learned from them?
My Grandma was 100 years old. One hundred. Can you imagine? She lived on her own up until three weeks before she died. It's amazing. I can't even begin to comprehend the amount of things she experienced in her lifetime. The Great Depression, countless wars, the birth of penicillin, first man on the moon, women's rights, Y2K, 9/11, the age of technology, the list goes on and on.. doesn't it just boggle your mind to think about the changes she witnessed?
When I think about the scope of a lifetime that's lasted for a century I am simply astounded. But the reality is she lead a very simple life. She never had more than she needed and she never wanted more than she had. Grandma Waack was a strong, clever, calm woman. She was easy to be around. She always had a tender smile on her face and a story to tell. She loved nothing more than to play a game of marbles (which she would always win, and poke fun at you if you took too long to take your turn) and cook a good meal for her family. She loved to have visitors and sit and chit chat the day away and when she hugged you you could feel how dang strong she was. Like an ox.
I'll never forget a visit I had with her when Nakiah was a baby. I put him down on the ground and began to worry that he would break these pretty figurines that she had displayed down low.. I mentioned something to her and she climbed effortlessly onto the ground with him and began to play… she said, "don't worry, those are just silly things… it's not every day I get to play with my great grandson, he can break whatever he wants… but watch, he won't touch a thing." She was ninety years old at the time and there she was rolling around wrestling with him, and teasing him, just the way I did! She managed to keep him so entertained that he didn't even notice the breakable things in the room.
When we visited her with new great grandkids she would just hold them as long as she could and stare into their faces with a tear in her eye. She'd giggle if they fussed and blame it on her deep voice scaring them. She was especially excited during our last visit because she was able to get several five generation photos taken and they made it into the paper. She loved stuff like that…. "the perks of being a Great Grandma," she'd say.
Though I am sad that it was time for her to leave this Earth, and that I can't be with my family for her funeral, I'm comforted by the fact that she lived a full, happy life. …and I could not be prouder to be her Great Granddaughter. I'm passing the strong-as-an-ox qualities down to my own kids, may we all live to see 100 years.