I heard yesterday from Mom that you had reached the last chapter of your life. The news I was dreading to hear had arrived. I wonder what the world will do without you. What am I going to do without you?
I am so grateful we had the chance to stroll upon the land you lived for 95 years one last time. You seemed so strong and healthy only two months ago. I had great hopes you would be the oldest woman to ever live. I know it is selfish because I know you are bored, your body is harder to move around and most of your friends have passed already. It’s time.
I want you to know that I admire you for surviving two wars and their aftermath while living with soldiers. Northern France was rough, violent and in the line of fire during your teenage years. I am proud of you for pedaling across the country, delivering mail in between early mornings and late nights working the land. I know your life was not easy.
It makes me smile to also know that you never missed an opportunity to laugh out loud or disobey the rules when necessary. I am happy you took the time to hold my hand and pick flowers with me in your garden, collecting those same flowers’ seeds when I was old enough to plant my own garden. I loved when you would join us as we wandered through the market, even as we wandered all the way to Canada, you would still visit. It fills me with joy to know you enjoyed chocolate, wine and being surrounded by the family as you had us over every weekend. I will always remember when France won the World Cup in soccer and we ran outside in our pajamas screaming victory with you and the entire country.
You lived a good life Mamie.
Last time I saw you, you seemed worried. You talked about the refugees needing homes, the chemicals they spray in the fields, the traffic, and how all the farms around have changed into bed and breakfasts. You seemed worried for the future, for me, for my children.
There are a lot of sad things happening in the world Grandma, but I need you to know that there is so much good happening too. People around the globe are coming together to solve problems in unprecedented ways. The food industry is being revolutionized and GMOs have been forbidden in Europe. Germany is reinventing efficient energy sources and ways to heat homes. At work, my boss monitors my exposure to chemicals. There is more and more people caring about the lands and oceans and are doing everything they can to protect them. Even you, Mamie, could gather data on the environment and be part of this community who cares. My friends, colleagues, the person that sells me vegetables at the market; the guy that pumps my gas at the gas station; we all care.
I can’t imagine the world without you but your grand grandchildren, and I and all of the generations to come will remember how much you cared for the land. Your blood, flowing down generations, will hold this value like a river slowly making its way to the ocean over generations, carving a beautiful story in the rocks. You will be here with us.
Things do not change; we change. “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads, “said Henry David Thoreau.
I promise to celebrate you everyday Mamie,
With all my love,