When Maddie-the-Great was born, she had four living grandparents....Ratchlet's parents (Mikey and I) and T.A.'s parents, (Linda and Don D.). That's not so unusual these days when people are living longer. What is more unusual is that M-t-G also had four living great-grandmothers! No great-grandfathers were still alive, in fact all four of them had been gone for quite some time, but all four of her great-grandmothers were still with us.
M-t-G had the good fortune to actually know three of the four.
My mom (Great Grandma J.) was the one in poorest health, as she had had several strokes and was not able to get around on her own, but she was still mentally present and remained so until the last few months of her life. We had taken M-t-G to visit her in Phoenix when she was about six months old. Obviously the visit made no impression on Maddie, as of course, she doesn't remember it. But my mom remembered it and we have photos of them together. Mom died at age 83 when M-t-G was about 3 years old. I am very grateful that we were able to bring them together at least for a little bit.
Mikey's mom (Great Grandma D.) was the oldest and the only one M-t-G never "met." She spent the last several years of her life living with one of her daughters in the Chicago area. She was in pretty good shape physically, still mobile, and functional, but her short-term memory deteriorated steadily to the end when she no longer recognized her family. I'm not at all sure if she was ever aware of Maddie's existence. She was 99 when she died when M-t-G was about 7. G.G.D. was the only one who had more than one great grandchild.
Linda D's mom, was in reasonably good health both mentally and physically. Ratchlet and T.A. took M-t-G to visit her in Pennsylvania when she was about 8. Great Grandma M. died about two years ago and I believe she was in her early 90s. It was very fortunate that visit to Pennsylvania took place, because G.G.M. died not too long afterward.
Don D's mom, was the delightful Great Grandma May. She was the great-grandma M-t-G knew the best. She was in great health, mentally alert, physically active, and lived independently until just recently, She traveled frequently (and alone!), she married her 2nd husband in her late 80s, and was a sweet, funny woman, who lived her life her way. M-t-G had seen her many times over the years. Sadly, she died on Saturday at the age of 93.
So all four of these great-grandmothers are gone now. They are missed every day. It is such a shame that M-t-G didn't have the opportunity to know them all better. They were remarkable women who lived through hard times when they were young....the Depression, WWII....yet they married happily (mostly, I guess), raised multiple children (among them they produced nearly20 children), managed their homes, were widowed, and lived independently for many years. They considered themselves mothers and housewives and they succeeded at both. They loved their families wholeheartedly and were well-loved in return. They were the glue that held our families together
These women, and all the other millions of women like them, are the backbone of our civilization. They are nurturers, caregivers, pillars of strength, and an example to all the women who follow. They are daughters, mothers, wives, grandmothers, and great grandmothers. They gave us the best they had, they gave us everything. They put us before themselves over and over and over again. How could we ever thank them enough?
Without them, there would be no M-t-G, or any of us for that matter. Through them the cycle goes round and passes on to the next generation and so on and on. It's called LIFE and we, your children and grandchildren, and great grandchildren, thank you for giving us ours. You were the best!
And so, Mom, Mrs. D, Mrs. M., and now Great Grandma May, we love you and we will miss you forever. May you all Rest in Peace.