Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Making of a Hero

Sometimes when we think about heroes we envision cultural icons like C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr, and most recently, Steve Jobs. Undoubtedly, my kids would list superheroes like Iron Man, Spider Man, or Taylor Swift (to my 10 year old, she is about as superhero as it gets!) While we could idolize any of these, most true heroes live their lives in virtual anonymity. There exists in my journal a list of my personal heroes -none of which are famous. Near the top of that list is my grandma.

She didn't record any albums, write prolific words, or star in famous productions. She didn't save the planet or invent some grand technology. She didn't even go to college. What she did, however, was leave a mark on not just me, but on all of her 23+ grandchildren.

My beautiful grandma, Vicky Sharples,
as I remember her from my childhood
There are many things I could say about this woman whose legacy is so deeply imprinted in my heart - like that she loved pistachio ice cream (seriously, who does that?), or that the only thing I ever saw her make for dinner was reservations (I'm starting to see the genius in this one!), or even that she washed and reused plastic utensils even though she had ample real ones - but those are just tidbits of the little quirks that made us love her. What she gave me was far less tangible than money and far more lasting than any physical gift. She taught me the value of unconditional love. Never once did I hear her say a bad word about anybody (and believe me, there were times she really would've been justified doing so). Regardless of who you were, what you'd done (or hadn't done), or the choices you'd made, her door was literally always open.

This month marks the nine-year anniversary of her call home and yet there are still days that I feel her so close its hard to believe she's gone. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to pick up the phone to share news of one sort or another or - as is more often the case - just to hear her voice bring life to the nick-name only she and Grandpa are allowed to call me.

Not a day has gone by that I haven't missed her. I can't say that about any of the aforementioned superheroes or icons. None of them, regardless of their social status, has impacted my life more than my amazing, quirky, ever-loving grandma. Her legacy of love and tolerance will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of those who loved her most. And that is the mark of a true hero.

1 comment:

  1. I miss her so much too! She was an amazing women and really was an amazing example of love. she loved everyone and wanted the best for people. I miss opening the freezer to find her lemon custard with an inch of freezer burn on top, or opening the cupboard and finding fruity pebbles. And her pepsi. haha. Everytime I see pepsi I think of grandma. You wrote this beautifully Steph. :) Thanks for it.


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