She Walked Powerfully

She walked powerfully through my life.

During my childhood, she went to work while her retired husband stayed home and tended house, yet got up early Sunday mornings making dinner from scratch for her extended family. Picking her up at her office was perhaps the highlight of my Saturday. There was something magical about typewriters and adding machines and the high counter in the front where my grandfather would sometimes let me sit. She planted the seed that a woman's place is wherever she wants to be.

During my teen years, she unabashedly shared her opinion and encouraged me to stand firm in my convictions. She remembered with me my history, as well as family history. Stories of my mother´s childhood, the Depression, and her own life we're the history lessons of my youth.

At my wedding when I was just barely 21, she danced joyfully with my grandfather to their song - I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten Cent Store. As I witnessed love reverberate between them, I prayed that one day my husband and I would live up to that example, the love between us palpable to all in the room. 

As a new mom, unsure of my ability to live up to any number of perceived expectations, Nanna encouraged me to relax and listen to my instincts and my baby, assuring me that things would work themselves out. Quite unexpectedly, at least as far as I was concerned, she was one of my biggest breastfeeding supporters, regaling me with the story of a mom in her old neighborhood who seemed to be nursing all the little ones in the block. "She would just throw her breast over her shoulder and they would all follow after her." 

In more recent years, I witnessed her weakness, stubbornness, and strength when she was faced with the death of her husband, my Grampy. I saw her with new eyes as she ventured forth through life on her own, making new friends, and striving to be fiercely independent as she was forced to depend on others. I delighted in seeing the sheer joy in her face as she interacted with her great-grandchildren and treasured every opportunity to take another walk down memory lane with my Nanna. 

Two days ago, I went to visit Nanna for the last time. In the few moments I had alone with her, I told her how much I loved her and that she needed to be at peace. That we would all be ok. I said goodbye. Yesterday she left her earthly body behind to journey into Everlasting Life.

Today, Ash Wednesday, I celebrate her life. I'll cuddle with her great-grandchildren and share memories. I'm sure we'll laugh, certain we'll cry, and know that we'll never forget this woman who walked so powerfully through our lives. 

You are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19b)


  1. So much strength lies before us and so much behind us to follow.
    What a lovely tribute and woman. I know you find comfort in your faith.


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