It’s gloomy in Madison today. The sun is hiding. It’s much cooler than the last few 90 degree days we have experienced. But I find it fitting for the news I woke up to this morning. In March of my freshman year I found out that my Grandma Barb was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Ever since then, I was positive that she would recover. She had to. She was the strongest, kindest person I knew. She taught me to believe in God, so I had faith that she would make a full recovery. Some time my sophomore year she entered remission, and I was confident that she had beat it. A few short months later, the cancer came back with a vengeance. And it was here to stay. 
This morning I woke up to a notification from her Caring Bridge page saying that she had transitioned to her final stages of life. I knew last week when I came home that it was probably the last time I would see her, and it was one of the hardest days of my life. But she wouldn’t want me to focus on the negativity. 
Right before we left I started crying, and she told me to find the humor in everything. She never stopped cracking jokes. So, instead of focusing on her illness, I’m writing this, because I want to share the impact that she had on my life. 

She played a big part in who I am today. Whatever I wanted to do, she made me feel like it was possible. When I told her freshman year that I was still considering pre-med, she urged me to follow my passions, because she knew that I wanted to be a writer more than anything else. She wanted me to be happy. 

She took care of us when my mom was working. I loved coming home from school and getting to talk with my grandma. It was the highlight of my day. She was always telling me about books she was reading and giving me books. I was always so impressed by how many books she could go through so quickly. And I wanted to be just like her. 
Grandma Barb and her father
She wanted us to be happy. She walked down the aisle to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” when she married her current husband when I was a kid. I keep listening to it on repeat, because I can feel her energy just listening to it. Even in her dying days she was more concerned about everyone else than herself. She wanted everyone else to be happy. She apologized to my mom for the inconvenience she caused by falling and breaking her hip one day when they came over. Who does that?! She broke her hip! And she was more concerned with the distress it caused my mom and siblings. 
She impacted everyone she met. From her random acts of kindness to constantly making people smile, she touched everyone around her. She was someone you could never forget. My grandma is filled with a type of energy that is contagious. I liked to say she was spunky. Her style was amazing: She always had the most colorful clothing and beautiful earrings. How could you not be happy around her? She taught me to be kind to everyone that I met and to try to make someone else’s day, because you never know what they are going through. 
She called me “Honey Girl.” This is one of the things that I will miss the most. I will miss her hugs. I will miss her pep talks. And I will miss her calling me “Honey Girl.” I don’t know what it is about it, but it always made me feel comforted. Whenever I was upset, I was embraced with a “Honey Girl, it’s going to be okay.” And I really believed her. 
There is so much more that I am thinking and feeling, but I couldn’t possibly express it all in one post. What I hope that you can take away from this is to always remember how much the people around you are impacting your life. Don’t be regretful for lost time, but be thankful for the time you had with them. I am so grateful that I got to be her granddaughter, and while all I want is more time with her, I know that she will always be with me. 
Whether it’s a smile to someone at Target or calling a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while, please pass along some joy today for Barbara Jean.
Though you will probably not get to see this, I am going to miss you more than you will ever know. I love you so much, Grandma.