Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Almost 20 years ago I met a special guy named Terry Cooper. Terry worked at Southeastern and was the person who taught me web page creation. Terry wouldn’t teach me the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) easy web creation method, but insisted I learn html coding. I was not happy at the time because that was not easy. Since then I have been so thankful that Terry made me learn it the hard way since I’ve used that in all the years I’ve done web creation. If the easy way didn’t produce what I wanted, I was able to go into the html coding and find the problem, thanks to Terry! Even here on WordPress I still go into the coding to make things work like I want them too, thanks to Terry’s teaching! There’s a lot more I could share about what a special man Terry is but what I’m sharing today is the letter he posted recently on his facebook page a letter to his grandmother about his mother (her daughter) turning 100 years old. You will feel you know this sweet lady after reading this and I hope it puts a smile on your face and your heart as you read this. Thanks Terry for being who you are and for allowing me to share this with others!
It was a hundred years ago, November 20, 1918, that you gave birth to your seventh and last child, Lura Edith Shelton. Nice name (after your sister?) but throughout her life people would insist on inserting an “a” after the “L” which she would correct politely but with a hint of irritation.
Eighteen years later she would marry Henry Charles Cooper and they would have four boys of which I am the oldest.
Here it is a hundred years later, November 20, 2018, and your little girl is still going strong in spite of some maladies she developed in her 90s: macular degeneration, 40% hearing loss, and dementia. With all that, though, she still does light housework like folding clothes (from the dryer), putting up dishes (from the dishwasher), cleaning the stove (after I make a mess), sweeping the porch, ramp, and sidewalk, and whatever else strikes her fancy.
Two weeks ago she voted in our mid-term elections.
She still does her own personal maintenance with a bit of help from me.
She became an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) in the 1950s when her children were old enough to allow her to attend classes. She liked nursing and was a conscientious worker. She was highly regarded by the doctors and RNs with whom she worked and was loved and appreciated by the patients.
She drove till she was ninety-one when her macular degeneration forced her to quit. She continued living alone for a while, then gradually began staying with me. I think she’s been with me full time now for seven years.
It never occurred to me that I would ever have to do something like this or that I would even be able to, but here I am.
And I must say, it is NOT a burden. Quite the contrary, she has been a blessing. It is a privilege and honor to be able to care for her, and if I should live a dozen lifetimes I could never repay her for all she’s done for me.
Six years ago (she was 94 at the time) she broke the large bone in her left leg in 4 places. I remember thinking, trying to hold back tears as they put her in the ambulance, that she wouldn’t come home, that she would not survive. But she did! They put a steel rod in her leg. The next day they got her up and walked her around the bed. The next day she walked (with help) to the door of the room and back. The following day she walked out in the hall.
She continued progressing, went through rehab, and now she pushes a shopping cart through a super market and does light housework.
Repeat: She was 94 at the time. I don’t believe a teenager could have healed faster.
Many afternoons, weather permitting, I put her in a wheelchair and push her downtown, to the park, through the neighborhood, or around the university campus (which is 4 blocks from the house.)
While she can walk around the block or through the house or push a shopping cart through a supermarket, she couldn’t sustain a two-hour walk, hence the wheelchair which, by the way, belonged to her sister, your fifth child, Grace. Thanks to Aunt Grace’s son, Fred Eastman, for lending it to his Aunt Lura.
Usually our excursions last two to three hours. She comments on things she sees: squirrels scampering across the path, a girl sitting on a bench studying for her finals, contrails, phases of the moon, large oaks, people walking their dogs or jogging or running for exercise, parents pushing their toddlers in strollers, and so forth.
For her hundredth birthday her family and friends gathered for a wonderful celebration day before yesterday. It was held Sunday in order to allow those who work or go to school to attend.
Well, Grandma, it’s been half a century since you “shuffled off this mortal coil.” I don’t know where heaven is or what it’s like, but there are people who have touched that “celestial shore” who have been allowed to come back and continue living their lives. Many of them tell us that it’s more beautiful than they can describe.
Your little girl — our mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother, matron to a large and close-knit family — has graced this world and our lives with her presence for a whole century. Thank you and Grandpa for such a precious gift. Indeed, thank you for your family: Mom’s sisters and brothers, my aunts and uncles and their families. What a blessing.
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!