One of the things that impressed upon me most at my grandma’s memorial was how special she made people feel. One of her friends stood up and read the Maya Angelou quote,
“ People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
What’s clear to me is my grandma left people feeling like they were special, cared for and that they mattered. One person after another got up and told stories of The Old Lady and how she made them feel by her thoughtfulness, kindness and humor. One lady spoke of how her grandson was tutored by my grandma in the last few months of her life. Her 10 year old grandson needed help with reading and my grandma stepped up. She not only helped him improve his reading but she made an Easter basket for him at Easter and gave him the greatest gift of feeling important and special. He was so touched by her kindness, he came and visited her in her final days of life and wrote her a beautiful card
Others came up to me and told me that every year on their birthday, grandma LaVerne made cookies and a card without fail, since they met 30 years ago. These were the kinds of things she did. She would cut out relevant articles from magazines and newspapers and send them to us, her family. Every holiday she mailed my children a card usually with money inside. I always admired her old fashioned way of sending cards and notes in the mail. I would think, “one day I will get better about that”.
Not only did she do things for people but she always used her keen sense of humor to entertain and connect with people. She was the inspirational speaker and joke-teller at her TOPS weight-loss support group. And boy did the TOPS people show up in great numbers at her memorial. She really made an impression on them. She would speak about how to stay healthy and live into your 90’s and other things that made people want to better themselves. Every time I saw my grandma over the last few years, I would always ask her to tell a joke and she always had one to tell. Her jokes were funny and her delivery of them was great.
All of this got me thinking about how I am impacting others. What is the impression I am leaving through my interactions, both short and longer term? Are my actions consistent with my words? Are my values showing up in how I live my life? These are all questions I ponder as I reflect on the impact my grandma’s life had on others.
There are not many people who have the gift of making others feel special and cared for like my grandma did. I don’t think she was always this way though. I think she became more clear on what was important to her as the years passed. Of course, she always had it in her and I believe we all do but how we choose to live our lives and express ourselves is a choice.
How do you choose to live? What is the impact you would like to have on others? How do you want to be remembered ? What’s most important to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. We are all on this journey of life together. The more we get clear about who we are and what we want, the greater impact we can have. Sharing your journey helps give clarity and a sense of purpose. Please share something about what this post evoked for you.