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The Legacy That You Do Not Know About

The month of June always makes me think of my grandmother.  Both because of D Day (you will understand more about that in a moment) and her birthday. 


When others think of my grandmother, many wonderful traits come to mind:  a gentle woman, kind, forgiving, open-minded, compassionate, happy, energetic, a great cook, a great mother, and a great grandmother, just to mention a few.


Sometimes when I think of my grandmother I worry. Though she was a great strong woman, she went through so much in her lifetime.  Her father was murdered when she was 18 years old. She lost her eight-year-old son to the disease of hemophilia. Her remaining son, my uncle Bill, contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and my grandmother took care of him until his passing. Her brother was captured in the Philippines at the beginning of World War II and the family went for years without hearing from him. After her brother was liberated from a Japanese prison camp, he died shortly afterwards while still serving in the military (hence the reminder of my grandmother on D Day). 


My grandmother suffered through my mom’s divorce, as she loved my dad dearly; she lost all three of her remaining brothers and then her husband, my grandfather.  And finally, my mom died unexpectedly in 2001, while she and my grandmother were living together.


There were other life events through the years and my grandmother was always the one that would pull the family through those changes.


However, I think my mom’s passing took a lot of wind out of my grandmother’s sail.


And I felt a change after that. 


What I wish I could show my grandmother is how many lives she has impacted and still impacts, years after her passing. When I was blessed with the opportunity to care for my grandmother (after the death of my mom), I just wanted to do everything possible to be sure that she was happy and cared for appropriately.  I already owed her so much that I knew I could not adequately repay her, and I felt as if my grandfather was looking over my shoulder urging me to step up. 


My journey with my grandmother inspired me to completely change my law practice, as well as how I deal with people. It inspired me to develop a practice that could take care of my clients as if I were taking care of my grandmother, with my grandfather looking over my shoulder. It inspired the team at my office, to care for our clients as if we were caring for our own loved one.


What I want my grandmother to know is that over 1,000 families have received great care from my office because of her journey and her inspiration, and that her journey was not for naught. 


I am a better person, my kids are better people, the team of people in my office are better individuals, the families we work with are better, all because of my grandmother, Thelma Wafer. 


Mamaw, if you can hear me, yours was the life worth living, a life that counted and is counting, and you made the life of others better, even today. Happy Birthday on June 13th. We all still love you.    


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