Grandma as a teenager.

On July 7 (last Tuesday), my grandmother passed away at the age of 89. The past week has been an emotional roller coaster, filled with travel for the funeral, family I hadn’t seen in years, and Southern food. I cancelled several workouts I’d scheduled, got behind on a lot of plans, and spent more time sitting than I care to discuss. I used the time to reflect on my own life and choices.

And of course I spent a lot of time thinking about Grandma. I keep circling back to one thing she used to believe about herself. She used to say she never felt like she was pretty.

Grandma on her 89th birthday.
Grandma on her 89th birthday.

Never mind that she was wrong. She was most definitely a strikingly beautiful woman. However, I never think of “pretty” as the first word to describe her. The first word I think of is STRONG.

Grandma probably didn’t do deadlifts or bicep curls. I’m pretty sure she never had to go to a gym to “work out.” Instead, she plowed a steer with her brother. She ran a gristmill with her father. She raised 9 children, mostly on her own. She ran a farm and she worked hard. It was a fact about her that came up again and again at her funeral: she was a hard worker.

Strength is not defined simply with weights or personal best times. As strong women, mothers, friends, we show the world our strength by what we do in our every day lives.

How do you want to be remembered?


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