“Every day is good to me!!!” She bellowed from the roof of her home. It’s almost always how she answered the question “How are you today?” Hammer in hand – sporting a men’s hat. She never fenced in her yard because she enjoyed interacting with the neighbors. She lived in that house for decades and she had a prominent role in her community.
I remember running through the sprinkler in the backyard by the Dogwood tree while she gardened, chopped fire wood, maybe she was mowing the lawn or baking her (never duplicated) famous apple pie. She loved people – unless they were complaining or being “a lazy ass.”
I adored her and followed her around every chance I got. I even went on senior citizen mall walks, braved cheek squeezes and numerous conversations about arthritis just so I could be around her. She taught me about self-sacrifice and resiliency just by the way she conducted herself through life.
In 1963, my Granny was in her 30’s when my Grandfather died suddenly in a tragic accident. A time when women weren’t able to apply for a credit card on their own. Mrs. George Dickson became the sole provider for my mom and uncle. She had a grade 8 education and lived in a world before google. She managed to teach herself how to maintain the house, support and raise 2 children…while grieving.
I didn’t come along for another almost 25 or so years. I heard her speak his name, photos decorated the house, newspaper articles and cards of sympathy from that tragic day tucked away in her desk drawer.
The truth is, everyday wasn’t good to her. She struggled and ached in a way I never could have understood until I lost Iggy. I bond with her spirit and journey in a way I never could have foreseen. Ellen Dickson passed away after battling Alzheimer’s in 2012, a few months shy of being a widow for 50 years.
She was badass. I don’t really know a better way to describe her. She woke up on her most difficult days and made the decision that day would be good to her. She was no-nonsense but optimistic and hopeful.
We could all learn something from Granny. She is a reminder that we need to show up in our own lives. To take responsibility for our own happiness – whatever that may look like. There is no recipe to follow or set of rules. You will stop worrying about the darkness when you realize you have the ability to light your own match. Once you start choosing activities and thoughts that bring you joy, every day becomes a little bit better to you.