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Update: My grandma recently died. I never got to speak at the service. This is what I had written.

For nearly two years, I’ve drove around in my car with the sixpence coin Grandma wanted me to wear in my shoe the day of my wedding. It was based on an old custom to wish one a lifetime of good fortune, not just a day. She wrote in the card that she wanted my Scottish heritage to shine. Then she signed it, “all our love.” Not just the word love, but all their love.

You know she meant it. Little tokens of tradition or words of sentiment were never hollow when they came from her. She believed in the luck of the wedding sixpence, the Footprints poem, and the legend of the sand dollar. She saw beauty in the small things because she knew they were the big things. She’d never criticize your for only having time for a short visit. She was just happy to see you. A few minutes on Skype with Zoryn’s sweet face were as satisfying as two hours. And every birthday we had was a milestone birthday. She called all her kids, all her grandkids, and all her great grandkids on our birthdays. She wanted to make sure you’d do something fun because she knew how fast the time goes by. But is that ever something you can really impress on someone else?

She was my Grandma for 35 years. She was probably the fifth person on this planet to know I ever existed. And she loved me right away. She was a part of my whole life and I assumed she’d always be here. That assumption will be a regret for me, but I don’t think she’d see it that way. She’d tell us not to have regrets. She’d want us to forgive each other’s shortcomings. She’d know a healthy full life has no place for grudges.

After all, we have just one life. And it’s just how Grandad described it recently. It’s amazing how a tiny seed takes root, then grows fingers and eyelashes and toes. It’s a baby that becomes a girl, a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandma, a great grandma. Life is full of so many miracles. She was one of ours, and all of us were one of hers.

When Ben and I left the hospital on Saturday feeling uncertain and sad, I noticed a young man quickly walking behind us to meet someone in the parking lot. Since most hospital visits have to do with some level of grief, I didn’t even want to think about why those guys were there. They were both walking toward each other and it took me a minute to realize what they were saying. “She’s here,” said one. “Does she have 10 and 10?,” asked the other. Then the one guy practically started bawling and I could hear him say over and over, “She’s here. SHe’s finally here.” THen it hit me. I realized someone had their baby that day. While my family was in the ICU with my grandma counting down her final minutes, trying to hold on to a little bit of her spirit, another family was seeing the birth of their miracle. A new baby would share our grandma’s birthday.

And that is the story of life. One moves on and others move in.

She will live on in her six kids, her 15 grandkids, and her 10 1/2 great grandkids.

If you really think about it, it’s mind blowing how many people are alive on this planet because of Grandma and Grandad. So that is how she lives on. She lives in us, and in our acts of compassion. That is her legacy. She is our miracle and we’re all the better for it.

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