Last summer I took the kids to Montana to visit my grandma for her 99th birthday. When I said goodbye to her last summer, I couldn’t imagine her living to see her 100th birthday – she was frail and not doing so well. And with each month that passed, she surprised us all.
As we started making plans for this summer, we talked of doing a reunion in Montana around her birthday so we could celebrate with her. But there was still a pit in my stomach that didn’t believe she would make it. As her birthday drew closer, you couldn’t help but root for her to live just a little bit longer – to see 100 years. An achievement not met by many.
When we were in Idaho, 2 1/2 weeks before her birthday, we learned she was steadily declining. Her body was starting to struggle. Sure, a part of all of us hoped she would hang on for 2 1/2 weeks. But I couldn’t help but think she didn’t need 100 years – she had 99 and that was more than enough.
My mom called this morning to let us know she had completed her time on earth – all 99 years and 364 days…her birthday is tomorrow. She lived a day short of a century. Bitter sweet.
In the early hours of this morning, as she took her last breath, we happened to be sitting around our kitchen table, a time zone away, talking about her with my brother and his wife who were visiting. We spoke of our memories, thoughts and feelings about her life, a tribute to the life she lived and the world she saw change.
She was born in 1918. I thought it was interesting to learn what was happening the year she was born.
The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the world’s population.
Time zones and daylight savings were created.
The USPS started regular airmail.
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs for the 1918 World Series championship, their last World Series win until 2004.
World war 1 ended.
A dollar in 1918 equals more than $16 now based on inflation.
Sam Walton (Wal-mart founder) was born.
Bacon was $.40/lb, a refrigerator was $20, and a movie ticket was $.15.
Life was different. In her century of living, she saw the world change and change again. She lived through the depression. She witnessed the effects of a world war. She saw the birth of technology. She saw it all. And today she completed her journey.
I am grateful today she was reunited with her husband after 20 years of living without him – I’m sure it was a tender reunion.