Happy Birthday, Grandma!
I hope you know how grateful I am for your legacy. Your story is the stuff of a Lifetime movie or BBC miniseries, only an outsider would never have known given your warmth and sense of humor. Even when Alzheimer's had claimed your memory, you knew how to laugh, and nothing made you light up more than seeing your son (the Movie Star, you called him, with a reminder not to get a pot belly. I'll help reinforce that).
Raised as an orphan by nuns, adopted as a servant by your birth mother, driven away by a handsy stepfather, you made your own way in the world as a nurse. You diffused tough times with a dose of humor, and chased away self-pity with determination. My tough times don't seem so bad when I think of what you went through in your life, and if you were able to be kind and resilient, I can only hope and pray that I inherited those genes. (Please excuse the small pity party I threw myself last week.)
You managed to see the best in people, and even when others treated you so poorly, you knew how to treat yourself right. While your time, energy and money went into raising three kids on your own, you set aside just a little money each bonus to buy something special - a pretty piece of jewelry or bottle of perfume - because you knew you were worth it. I wear your ring every day, and am constantly reminded that my worth is not determined by any other person in this world, but by a loving Creator and belief in my own value. Thank you for this and many other lessons.
Celebrating your life today with lots of love,