Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WHAT'S NEW: November 2008

This is something new that I could have gone my whole life without doing -- yet I also feel very proud to have been able to do it.

On November 12, my grandmother passed away -- just three days after her 90th birthday. Her funeral was on Sunday, November 16 and I was one of four granddaughters to speak during the service. I consider myself a professional public speaker...yet nothing can prepare you for the emotional experience of addressing a church full of family and friends to share your thoughts about one of the most inspiring people in your life -- after they have been taken away from you.

Donna McDonald was born November 9, 1918 -- a twin with Dorothy (who passed away two years ago). They married brothers, both becoming part of the Knight family...and what a family it is. Our branch of the family tree includes 5 children (and spouses), 14 grandchildren (and spouses) and 23 great-grandchildren (ranging in age from 2 to 18). We hover around 60 for family gatherings, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Easter (my grandmother's three favorite holidays).

There are several things that will always remind me of my grandma: cardinals, cards, Easter lilies, the color purple, frog legs, pumpkin pie, puzzles, vine ripe tomotoes, rhubarb, bowling, post offices, Otsego Methodist Church, Beaver Island Lighthouse, the Mackinac Bridge.

Beyond all the physical things, I will remember my grandma for her passion for life, her infectious smile, her determination and drive, and her positive attitude. Over the years, she battled cancer -- been in a serious automobile accident -- had knee replacement surgery, twice I think. But she never let it get her down. She had too much to do...to much to see...to be laid up with injuries and illnesses.

I like to think that in inhereted my passion for life from my grandmother -- along with my love of travel and eating out at a variety of restaurants. I remember telling her about my various travels and hearing about hers (she visited nearly every state in the country, every province in Canada and several countries). I often think, as I'm trying a new restaurant, that it might be something she'd like. In fact, the night after she passed away...we all went out to dinner and several people ordered frog legs (but, strangely enough, no one got the liver and onions) in her honor.

Thanksgiving...just a few weeks after grandma passed...was very difficult. I expect Christmas Eve next week to be equally as rough to get through...especially since we're gathering in her house (the only place big enough for all of us). I'm sure the memories of us all togehter last year -- when we all knew it would be her last -- will be very close to my heart. But, by taking a cue from grandma...I will put on a smile, think about the positive and move forward -- because life is too short for regrets and negative thoughts.

Happy Holidays!