A friend suffered a great loss this past week – her Grandma passed away. As many friends have want to do, she went to facebook to share the news, but as you’ll see, this wasn’t your normal public announcement. Her post, in full, follows below:
My grandma passed away today. I write this not as a public journal entry, but I want to share a story with all of you that is truly moving to me.
Yesterday, we received a buzz from a guest in the front lobby, though we weren’t expecting any guests. I came to the front door to welcome a man, his wife, and two beautiful children, a girl, 6, and a boy, 1. I asked him if we were related and apologized if I didn’t know (there are a lot of family members out here in Minnesota!). He said no. Then I asked how he was connected to Grandma. He answered, “she saved my life. ”
When he came inside he continued to share stories of Grandma’s impact in his life. My cousin Melissa met him randomly outside of a jailhouse as he was released after 11 days for a domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend. He and Melissa got to talking and he told her that he didn’t have any place to go, he was homeless. His mother and friends disowned him and wanted nothing to do with him. Melissa knew what to do. She brought him to Grandma.
Grandma had already been a foster mom for many years, but had since left the “system”. Still, she managed to house others who needed a home. Melissa lived in the upstairs bedroom. Two other “random” men lived in the basement downstairs. Grandma decided this man would sleep in the room directly across from her, so she could keep a good eye on him. She had two conditions for living in her home: shower and eat. She was “compassionate and stern” as he described, which gave him a second chance to go from homeless to starting a new life. He has been clean from drugs ever since. Drinks maybe once a year. Went to college and met his wife. It was so incredible to see him yesterday with a lovely wife and beautiful children, all because my Grandma believed in the person he could be, the better man he could become. He was so torn up with many tears yesterday telling us how thankful he was to have had Grandma in his life.
I wish I could be even a sliver of the incredible woman my grandma was. She lead a serving life for others. She always had open arms, and quite literally an open house. She was a remarkable woman and the world will greatly miss her. It is our collective responsibility now to be as warm and welcoming with others as my grandma was. To have hearts OVERFLOWING with love. It is a hard responsibility to bare, but I absolutely believe we can do it.
Hug someone you love today. Do an INTENTIONAL act of kindness. Change a life, and change the world.
Will we hear my friends call to have hearts OVERFLOWING with love? Imagine that love leading to the kind of rebirth this man experienced, complete and fulfilled even unto a brand new legacy. What an amazing way to have contributed to life. At the very least, let’s not forget Grandma.