So, spring break is coming to an end. It's been a nice week where I was able to do pretty much whatever I wanted. No real requirements on my time. I find times like this revealing, because it reveals what I value when I don't have the structure of going to work every day. I must choose to do whatever it is I do on these days.
And the overwhelming thing that I've noticed over the past week is just how important family is to me.
Some of you are aware that my grandmother died last Wednesday. While the end of the life of a loved one is sad, it was actually a good thing for her. She had suffered from Alzheimer's disease over the past several years. It became rather severe over the past year or so. While Alzheimer's is always a destructive disease that robs a person of their very being, I think we found it even more painful because my grandmother had been such a strong person throughout her life. She worked for over 50 years, beginning back in the midst of World War II when her six older brothers all went to serve in the military, continuing through raising a family of five kids, and even through a good portion of my own life. She finally retired not long after turning 70 back in 1996. She was a vibrant and loving woman. No doubt the second strongest female influence on my upbringing after my own mother. I owe a great deal of who I am now and who I will continue to be to the values that she taught and then further reinforced.
So while she will be missed greatly, we've already grieved her piece by piece as the disease kept her away from us. As my uncle Bill said at her funeral service, she's not truly gone. She lives on in the hearts and minds of those she left behind. I can only hope that I have even a fraction of the impact that she had. I can't help but think that I will not.