I sat on my couch crying my eyes out as a pile of crumpled up tissues formed next to me. It was early December 2009 and I had just received word that morning I didn't get yet another job I had interviewed for. That was upsetting, for sure. But right after that, my mom called.
"Grandmom's in the hospital." She wanted to wait until I had returned from my trip to Mexico to let me know.
Grandmom was my rock. She was an amazing, inspiring, and humble woman. I felt a stab in my heart as my mother relayed the severity of her condition. It was not looking good.
So I sat there broken-hearted, and rejected, my eyes puffy, my head throbbing, weeping like an inconsolable child.
After a while, I dried my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and said to myself, "I just have to persevere."
A week later I went to visit Grandmom in the hospital. It was the last time I would see her alive.
I sat on the edge of her hospital bed, our hands entwined and asked, "Grandmom, how are you doing, really?"
"I just have to persevere!" she replied, chipper as always.
I was floored! Here she was, terminally ill and still persevering. That was Grandmom to a T.
Grandmom was no stranger to adversity. She was the eldest daughter in a family with eight kids that lived in poverty. When she was about four years old she was in a terrible trolley accident.
Her mother had sent her to the store. And Grandmom must have thought she could outrun the trolley but instead she tripped on the tracks and was dragged about 50 feet before a bystander waved down the unsuspecting conductor.
It was a miracle that she survived. They brought her to the hospital but all the doctors could do was make her comfortable and try to manage the pain. This was before there were antibiotics or plastic surgery. The right side of her face was disfigured as a result of that accident.
Despite that tragedy, Grandmom had a sunny disposition that was contagious and saw the beauty in everything. She knew how to persevere with grace and dignity.
When she passed away a few weeks later my heart broke some more. I couldn't imagine my life without her. I could be having the worst day ever, then speak with Grandmom and feel light, amazing, like anything was possible afterward. I was prone to skipping after we spoke, she filled me with so much love and energy.
I learned at her funeral that she had that effect on everyone. She had a way of uplifting your spirit and inspiring resolve. Something we could all use these days.
Maya Angelou said, "I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Grandmom made people good, hopeful, and optimistic. It wasn't just what she said, it was how she lived her life that was so inspiring. She was tuned into the needs of others, modest and a hard worker that always showed up with a smile on her face and love in her heart.
When she was in her mid-80's I accidentally broke the garbage disposal before a holiday dinner we were enjoying with extended family. My Grandmom was on her hands and knees scrubbing the dishes in the bathtub. We each tried to take her place and she shooed us away until they were all done without ever once complaining, smiling the whole time.
It's because of who Grandmom was and how she lived her life, that I decided to name my business in memory and honor of her. She would always encourage me to persevere and fulfill my dreams with a simple yet enthusiastic, "You go girl!" Honoring her memory has gotten me out of bed when I've wanted to wallow and hide from the world on a number of occasions.
One week from today, November 10th is Grandmom's Birthday. For years I've celebrated by hosting Rosabella Tea and Cookies - because that was my favorite time during our visits. While we can't gather in-person, we can still come together virtually for a celebration and share stories of perseverance.
You're invited to join me for Rosabella Tea and Cookies, November 10th at 4-5pm MST - RSVP online here. You can drop in or stay the whole time, either way, our chief aim is that you leave inspired to persevere!!