I'm Thankful For The Gift of Goodbye

Real Estate Agent with (Metro First Realty)

 I am thankful for the last couple of years that I have had with my grandmother. I have not always been so thankful for my relationship with my only grandmother.


My grandmother has been a difficult, hurtful person in my life since I was a child. But now, as she slips in and out of reality, I find a little more tolerance and forgiveness of past transgressions.

As I plan, probably my last trip out to Arizona to assess her condition and help with whatever transition may be needed, I am faced with the sad task of seeing her mentally slip away.

My grandmother was a successful real estate broker who exhibited exceptional warmth and charm to her clients and co-workers. I loved being with her in the company of those many clients.  This was when she was always “at her best”.  Glamorous, funny, charming, witty, all the things I felt I would never be and at times was told I would never be by her.

I am thankful for the understanding “time” has bestowed upon me. I don’t think she ever meant to be cruel. Perhaps she was living her own tortured existence. I think we are able to see these things about our parents, grandparents and siblings when the filter of immaturity is finally lifted from our eyes. I am thankful for that.

I am thankful for the numerous lessons she taught me. She taught me to be frugal with my money, always asking; “Do you absolutely love it? If not, don’t buy it”. Her frugality afforded her the ability to provide for members of my family who should’ve provided for her in her later years.

My trip to Japan with her and my Uncle was under the condition that I pay my own airfare there. This was no small feat when I was in highschool. But I did it! I saved the money and paid for the airfare. This I would've never done had she not taught me how capable I was.

She taught me how to treat clients. She was a master at customer service.

She taught me, inadvertently, to be mindful of others’ moods and non-verbal cues. This has served me well when providing customer service.

She had a wonderful wit and perspective on life. I sometimes see that in myself. Because she told me to always “work on personality” because of how I looked, I did. I cannot say I have a brilliant personality but my friends do, that counts for something, right?

So as she steps in and out of reality I find myself missing her, ALL of her.  Not many of us get a “heads up” that things are heading south. Hopefully, I can catch her one last time before she skips off into her mind to let her know how grateful and thankful I have been for having her as my only grandmother.  For this, I am most thankful.

balloons in air




This post is a submission to the DocuSign/ActiveRain Thankful Contest. It's possible I will win a prize for writing this post. You could win a prize too by going to the Contest Announcement and sharing your own story.


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Comments (9)

James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Sounds like you have a mixed and powerful range of emotions when speaking about her.  You're a stronger person because of your ability to more or less forgive or forget for the time being about her problems when you were younger

Nov 05, 2011 01:11 AM
Valerie Duncan Stewart
(Metro First Realty) - Oklahoma City, OK
Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK

James: I love her and am anxious for her. Thank you James.


Nov 05, 2011 01:27 AM
Sharon Paxson
Sharon Paxson, Realtor® EQTY Forbes Global Properties - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

HI Valerie - this is a good story,and the lessons of our youth has certainly shaped all of us.

Nov 07, 2011 04:10 AM
Amy Shair
Cary Apex Durham NC Referrals - eXp Realty - Duke University, NC
Award-Winning Agent 25+ Years

Valerie, sometimes our complication relationships are the ones that teach us the most. Good for you for recognizing and appreciating the duality of your relationship with her and for supporting her as she ages.

Nov 07, 2011 11:59 AM
Valerie Duncan Stewart
(Metro First Realty) - Oklahoma City, OK
Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK

Sharon: Gosh, thank you. They are sometimes painful lessons but in the end, it is your takeaway that makes all the difference.

Amy: You couldn't have said it any better. There is a ying and yang to ALL things and the more we recognize them, the better we are in enriching the learrning experience of our lives.

Nov 08, 2011 02:43 AM
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas


That is a wonderfull story and must have been hard to write.  Sadly our family is more important than our customers.  I'm sure she understands the person you have become and appreciates you as well!

Nov 11, 2011 03:04 PM
Valerie Duncan Stewart
(Metro First Realty) - Oklahoma City, OK
Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK


Thank you for the sentiments.

Nov 14, 2011 10:26 AM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Hope you have lots of fun and food with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2011 06:12 AM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Valerie, I can so relate to the bittersweet aspects of this. My dad was a child of the depression and fought in 2 wars. He was devout, probably PTSD from combat and from a poor background. However, he worked hard to raise us in the suburbs and couldn't relate to the comparatively easy life his kids had, and that made things harder in many ways. But of course, he had many good qualities and for those I am thankful. All of us graduated college and are gainfully employed, we are good people, or at least try to be, and that is due in large part to parents who made such values a priority. 

Dec 29, 2011 03:04 AM