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Monday, June 2, 2014

Conversations with My 91 Year Old Grandma: Boyfriends & Cigarettes.



91 and as sassy as ever. 

My great-grandma recently turned 91, and when I called to tell her happy birthday, she cracked me up with the candor she spoke with.

She answered the phone by saying, "Yep.  I'm gonna die soon." And then laughed and laughed like she had shared an old joke and not a sad statement.  So I changed the subject and asked her about her life.

About her love life:

Me:  Grandma, do you have a boyfriend?
Her:  I will NOT get into bed with another man, do you hear me?  I haven't been in bed with a man since my husband passed and I plan on keeping it that way.
Me:  Grandma, I don't think anyone is trying to make you get in bed with them.  You can just go out for coffee.  Maybe dinner.
Her:  Ha!  No thank you.  Pause.   But you listen:  I could if I wanted to.  It's not like nobody wants to be my boyfriend, because they do.  They definitely do. 

Life Advice: 

"Do good.  Read your Bible.  Listen to that feeling in your stomach.  And never, no matter what, smoke one single cigarette ever.  It's when you smoke your first cigarette that everything goes bad."

It was so precious to me, because one, I'm twenty-two.  The days of feeling pressured to smoke my first cigarette ever are pretty far behind me.  And two, she's such a beautiful soul and truly sees things in that simple light:  If you do good and don't smoke cigarettes, life will be pretty good for you.

Friendship:

"I never knew I had so many friends until this year.  You won't know who your real friends are until you get really old.  At my age, all the glitz and glamour is gone and you can't really do much for other people except be their friend.  So if your friends call and come see you and invite you over, it's because they really are your friend.  They want to be around you because they love you, not because they love what you can do for them."

And then she wrapped up the conversation in the same way she started it:

"Yeah, I'm gonna die soon.  But don't you be sad for me.  I've lived for a really long time and had a really good life.  God has been so good to me.  I don't want anyone to be sad for me, because when you get to be my age, death isn't so scary, it's friendly.  Because so many of my friends have died, I know I'll have some great company when I get up there.  I haven't seen my parents in so many years, and I know they'll be waiting on me.  And did you know it's been over 30 years since my husband died?  So don't you be sad for me, because I know he's up there.  He maybe just barely made it in, (he smoke cigarettes, you see) but I know he's there.  He'll be waiting to see me again."

My grandma has spent the past 30+ years loving the same man that she married.  Avoiding "the bed" (or just coffee) with other men.  She has been devoted to him long after death did them part.

"Don't be sad when I die.  I won't be sad.  I'll get to see that man again.  Oh, what a beautiful day it's gonna be.  Right Chelsea?  Don't you think so?

Yeah, Grandma.  I think so.

Have you ever had conversations like this with any of your grandparents?

30 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. I love her! This post is so adorable. You can feel her spirit for your words.

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  2. your great-grandma ROCKS. this post might just be my favorite of yours ever!

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  3. This just warms my heart. She sounds so vivacious!

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  4. The last part about death not being scary but friendly at that age brought tears to my eyes. It's exactly how I'm hoping I will feel when I get to be that age. I don't want to be scared and sad I want to be okay with it. I know I have a loooong way to go (if I'm lucky!) but every now and then I do think about it. I hope you'll tell her that she is inspiring to others!

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  5. This is my favorite blog post I've read in…well as long as I can remember! She sounds so sweet and what a blessing that you have her & conversations like this with her that you'll remember forever!

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  6. This made me tear up. Such great words of wisdom from what sounds like an amazing lady! I don't have any grandparents left, so cherish her as long as you get to!

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  7. What a lovely post . . . your grandma seems like a special lady. I tried to write down a few things my grandma told me before she passed. And part of my reason for blogging is so I can remember the times with my family, specifically my mom because she's getting older. And also, so my kids can look back one day and remember.

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  8. What a woman! This totally warmed my heart.

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  9. I wish I still had grandparents, but I love talking to older people. They have so much life experience to share!

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  10. Your grandma touched my heart, I have tears in my eyes

    <3
    -Jackie
    http://ournashvillelife.com

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  11. This is so precious. My grandma just turned 96 and unfortunately can't recall much anymore. I wish I'd taken all the opportunities I'd had when I was younger to talk with her like this!! Your great-grandma sounds like the sweetest, sassiest, most down to earth and biggest dreamer all wrapped in one!!

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  12. My Mom-mom once randomly told me how she wasn't going to sleep with her new boyfriend and never planned to remarry. It was weird, but also cute at the same time.

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  13. I love this! She is so cute and wise!

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  14. Such beautiful thoughts. You're so precious!!

    xoxo,
    Elizabeth
    bookofleisure.blogspot.com

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  15. What a woman. I didn't really know either of my grandmothers, but I aspire to be this kind of grandmother if I ever have kids!

    Such precious words. Especially about cigarettes!!

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  16. Elderly people are the best.

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  17. What a sweet post! She sounds like a great woman!

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  18. Your Grandma is sassy! I love the part about smoking (never! wwww!), and about listening to your gut instinct. Love this!

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  19. What wonderful advice! I love it when my grandma shares her little pearls of wisdom!

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  20. Chels, this is AMAZING! I'm so glad you wrote all this down to remember :)

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  21. Love this post! She sounds like the best, so funny! I love her outlook on life (and death). I also hope one day I feel like I've lived a completely fulfilling life like it seems she had. Great writing as usual! xo

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  22. I love this. SO. much.

    What a sweet lady.<3

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  23. Your grandmother is so cute ... and she does not look 91 at all! I recall having similar conversations with two of my grandparents before they all passed ... especially with my grandmother before she went to hospice, she regretted not traveling much at all and was so excited that I was getting to go abroad.

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  24. Oh how sweet. I have chills! What a priceless conversation to have written down forever.

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  25. I'm not crying, there's just a branch in my eye.

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  26. !!!! Melt. me. Oh my goodness- how sweet is this?!?! I may or may not be bawling.

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  27. wow. what an amazing woman!!! can she be my grandma? if my husband dies before me, i will never ever love or get into bed with another man. the beautiful thing about where i was married and my religion is that death will not part my husband and i. we will be married in the after life, throughout all eternity as well as in this life. and i just love that to pieces.

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