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The Lessons We Learn

In early March, my Grandma was diagnosed with terminal bile duct cancer. Terminal and cancer are such painful words and too often we hear them in regard to people in our lives that we love and cherish. Let me tell you a little bit about my Grandma McKee. Many would call her a non-traditional grandma.

She had a strong faith and lived it out daily.

  • I remember her inviting people she'd meet at the local store to our Thanksgiving table because they didn't have a place to be on the holiday.
  • When I was younger I was staying with her one weekend and went with her to teach her middle school-age Sunday School class a "Bible Rap" to learn books of the Bible.
  • Even though she was on a very fixed income, she made a point to financially give to church each month.

She loved adventure and LIVED life.

  • In retirement she drove a local taxi, even though she needed a pillow to be able to see over the steering wheel.
  • I have fond memories of our wild weekends in Chicago when I was in elementary school. We would stay in a fancy hotel in downtown Chicago and see the town. By the end of the weekend we would barely have enough money to get us through the Illinois tolls back to Wisconsin (hence our last night's dinner usually consisted of bar snacks from the hotel bar.)

She was confident and knew who she was.

  • Grandma loved to get attention. In college I came home to see her new tattoo...on her chest. As I looked at it I said, "Grandma that doesn't look right." Sure enough she had "Do Not Resusitate" phonetically, but misspelled, tattooed on her chest. It was her favorite thing to show off to people. She is planning to donate her body to the medical school and she has joked for years how she is looking forward to the laughs the medical students will have when they see her tattoo.

When I called my Grandma on her 85th birthday, she said, "I am at peace and you need to be too. I'm going to see Jesus." My fiercely generous, adventurous, fun grandma with the misspelled tattoo on her chest taught me the lesson I have always needed to hear—Jesus words "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." John 14:27; Jesus peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding—oh that we would all know that peace.

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