Chicago mom reflects on a life perfectly lived

When my mom called this Saturday morning I knew why she was calling before she spoke. My grandmother, Gramma Lu as she’s known to everyone, passed away early that morning. She had been sick for a long time and was recently under hospice care. The last few days before, she had not been doing well.

Gramma Lu did things in her lifetime that I can’t imagine; things I hope and pray I’ll never have to do. She waited as her husband went off to war and cared for him when he returned injured. She watched as sons and grandsons were sent to war. She buried her husband and two of her children.

Gramma Lu has quite the family. Her own nine children, 27 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren, plus all of their spouses and significant others. Among them are people who teach children, construct buildings and homes and serve in the armed forces. There are business owners, health care workers and full-time parents. There is one person who helps mothers bring babies into the world and one who cares for people as they are leaving this world.

This summer a beautiful baby girl joined our family and Gramma Lu was promoted to Great-Great-Gramma Lu.

Gramma Lu lived for 95 years. I will miss her; everyone in my family will miss her. But it brings me great joy – really, great joy – to know that she is finally reunited with my grandfather and two of her daughters.

My parents always told me I could be anything I wanted to be and I tell my kids the same. That statement often brings to mind the President of the United States, an Olympic athlete or maybe a wealthy CEO.

But I want to be Gramma Lu. I want to live a happy life, surrounded by family and friends. I want to help people out when I can. I want to raise my kids to be good people and help them to raise their kids to be good people.

What more could anyone want?

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