Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Granny Warner and Building a Legacy

Meet Granny Warner.  Today is her birthday and even though she's gone, there's still lots of reasons to celebrate.  I have had the unique pleasure to have two amazing grandmothers the majority of my life to learn from.  We lost my Granny two years ago and each year on her birthday, I want to honor her and what she stood for.  

Nobody loved babies more than my Granny and this is a picture of her holding our Avery with that perfect familiar smile she always had when a new baby was around.  She was so much more than a grandmother to just her own grandchildren, she was everybody's 'Granny Warner'.  Sometimes it seemed like she raised half of our small town and I'm sure there would be a few who said she did.  

My Granny was old school, full of lots of "bless your hearts", "gimme some sugar" and "y'all get you somethin' to eat".  She loved Jesus, her family, cooking and her community, in just about that same order.  If she wasn't crocheting a blanket for a new baby about to be born, she was canning apple butter, beans, cooking up something in her small kitchen or going somewhere to help a friend.  She was everything to me, the quintessential grandmother that you wish everyone could have.  Make no mistake though, Granny Warner wasn't a softie, she kept us in line and ran a tight ship.  She could raise a finger at any of us, no matter our age and you'd better believe we would pay attention and answer with a firm, "Yes ma'am."

When I went away to college, I wrote her a letter and told her I was homesick, she wrote me back directly (true southerners will understand the use of 'directly' here :-) and her advice was simple.  Find yourself a good little Baptist church, go when the doors are open, read your bible and everything will be just fine.

After Lainey got diagnosed last year, I felt my Granny so many times.  I asked her to be Lainey's angel and watch over her and somehow to send me the strength I needed to make it through all of this.  I had a particularly hard day at the cancer clinic last fall when Lainey was at the top of her weight gain and steroid treatments.  She had gained 8 lbs in three weeks, 30% of her body weight and it had taken it's toll on her, she could barely walk.  I was trying to be as strong as I could, but it was SO hard that day.  Then, in walked the doctor/clowns at Children's who visit sometimes to cheer up the kids during treatment.  One of them pulled out a ukulele and they started singing, "You are my sunshine." I lost it, the tears started flowing.  That was one of my Granny's favorite songs, she sang it to us all the time and we had them play it at her funeral.  I just knew it was my Granny's way of telling me to hold strong in my faith and it would all be ok.

I tell you all of that, to tell you this about my Granny.  At her funeral service, the preacher reminded us that we each preach our own funeral through our actions each day, because those are the things people will remember about you when you're gone. Nobody had to think up good stories about my Granny to share that day, there were so many, it was hard to decide what to include. Each and every day we're all deciding what our legacy will be, through our actions, how we treat people, so choose wisely. My Granny came from a time when if you gave someone your "word" it meant something and we helped our neighbors, everybody pitched in if times were hard for one.  I've spent a lot of my life not being as focused on building a legacy, I was more focused on building a bank account. Don't get me wrong, we all like nice things, me too and that's fine, but I want to be remembered one day for what I did, NOT what I had. 

I'm so thankful for my family who have taught me through leading by example, my girls who I try to pass that on to always and all of you, who teach me something new everyday. I am so incredibly proud of the Love is Louder Than Cancer Foundation that we are building, with your help, and I have no doubt that Granny Warner is smiling down on me today saying, "You've done good Kelly D, you've done good."

1 comment:

Linda said...

Linda said...
Amen, I know that Granny could not be more proud of you and all your accomplishments on this earthly journey. You have shown all us what real faith and strength is all about. What a blessing to you are to all of us. It is with greatest pride that we call you family... Love you Kelly D.