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  • "Life isn't about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain!"
  • "The happiest people don't always have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have."
  • "Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Grandma Riley

Well, our quick trip back to Mineral Wells from San Angelo was worth it! Mom and I were able to spend my grandmother's last day on this earth with her. When we got to the nursing home at 2am the night before, we knew she was pretty bad. We spent a couple of hours up there with her letting her know that we were there. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's, what I would consider the most cruel and horrific disease known to man. Over the past several years I have watched my grandmother go from bright, energetic, loving and caring to slowly losing her mind, forgetting her loved ones, forgetting how to walk and function and how to talk. There were moments in her last few years that I thought she knew I was there, like on her 80th birthday. We threw her a surprise party and everyone she loved came to the nursing home to celebrate with her. I hugged her neck and told her who I was and that I loved her and she looked me in the eye, smiled and said, "Yeah! Yeah!" as if she completely knew! So, these last few years had prepared us for the inevitable. Well, at least we thought. As we spent her last day with her, we recalled wonderful memories we'd shared, told her new things that were going on with everyone in the family. Introduced her to her newest great grand-child (Kelsey), made a few phone calls so others in the family could tell her goodbye, hugged her and gave her our last goodbyes. It was a tough day! When the nurse told us she would probably only give us a couple more breaths, mom and I held grandmas hands and we all said a prayer. Once the prayer was over, grandma took her last breath. She left this earth, the way she lived on this earth, with peace and grace. Before they came for her body, we played her favorite hymn "In the Garden" and sat there in silence. We had her service on Mother's Day, I couldn't imagine celebrating a better Mother's life on this special day. My grandmother was the most amazing woman I have ever met! She LOVED her family and would do anything to have her family together. She was such a peace-maker. I never heard my grandma talk bad about anybody, she wouldn't hurt a fly! I remember me being upset with someone and talking to her about it and instead of telling me how awful they were, she just looked at me and said, "Well, you know what I think about that, okay?!" She was a strong Christian woman, who helped teach me to be strong in my faith. She was FUN! I remember her taking me to the park and letting me play for hours! She would just sit patiently, as if she had nothing else to do. She was always at everything important to my brother and I,  and she was always there to support us and loved us unconditionally. She was the kind of woman that I hope to someday be more like. As prepared as I thought I would be, I've never had a more difficult time letting go! I loved that woman with all my heart! Since she helped teach me my Christian values, I know she is now in heaven rejoicing with the Lord and with my grandpa. I'm thrilled to know that when my time comes, I will get the chance to see her again and rejoice with her! Until then, I will keep her memories alive and she will be greatly missed!
My family at my grandparents house
We had many meals, games and puzzles at this table
Grandma loved having the family over
Playing Chicken Foot, a favorite family past time
SO proud my grandparents were a part of my life as I got older and got to see me start my own family

This is how I remember my grandparents- at the lake, enjoying life! 
Drew and I visiting home from college

My grandparents at Drew's wedding

Grandpa loved her SO much

Having fun at the lake
At our wedding shower in Midland

Grandma and mom visiting Steve and I on Landon Lane

Living the good life

My favorite picture of Drew with grandma and grandpa

Big brother being such a BIG helper while we planned grandma's funeral
These two were troopers throughout a long week! I was SO proud of them!

Her legacy will live on!

I love you grandma!