There are some people that are put into your life that are meant to change the path of your existence forever. For me, that person was my grandmother.
Ever since I can remember, going to my grandmother’s house was always such a special treat, even though she only lived about an hour plus some change away in Toccoa, Georgia and we went to visit pretty frequently when I was a child. Toccoa is a super small town: in 2000, the population was 9,323 people. In a place like that, everything seems charming and traditional and somehow just right (and I was thinking that even when I was tiny).
She was the funniest, most thoughtful, most beautiful woman I could have ever wanted to have in my life: so when she passed away in 2014, I was absolutely devastated, and I couldn’t really come to terms with it. She had just been driving a few months prior!
My grandmother was 91 when she passed away, and now that I look back on it, I think that it was so hard for me to accept that she had died because she had been alive for so long and had so many great stories to tell and had touched so many lives that she seemed like an immortal being.
Ultimately, my grandmother passed away from cancer, and this led to my involvement with Relay for Life. My grandma was always very big on philanthropy and doing everything she could to change the world, so I joined with the mentality that she would have loved everything that Relay stood for.
My committee is only women, and they all feel like the sisters I never had. It’s amazing to think that every single one of us in that group has been touched by cancer either directly or indirectly, and that we all joined with the intent on spreading the word about standing up to cancer and helping in any way that we can to make other people’s lives that have been affected better.
I’m writing about my grandmother’s death as an important moment in my life because through a negative experience, I was able to learn about the positive ways to help people who are struggling with the illness of a loved one, regardless of if the loved one has cancer or not.
Because of my grandmother, I’ve learned that kindness and love are often both the best forms of medicine, and I hope that I am able to spread both through my involvement with Relay for Life.