This is long and rambling, so here goes:
My Grandma passed away last Sunday at the age of 103, and I just felt like talking about it a bit. Here's a woman who was born and raised in Ireland, remembers when the Titanic went down, lived through WWI, remembers in WWII hearing the air-raid sirens as the German bombers sometimes overshot England at night and hit Dublin.
She didn't have a phone until she moved to Canada in '69 when her husband died (he was a ships pilot with the Dublin Port & Docks Authority), and could never quite fathom how a computer worked (had no real interest, either). She lived with us until I was about 20, when she moved into a care home, and it was only the past few years that she really started to decline. On her 100th birthday (we threw a big party), the doctor told us that only a small percentage of those who live to a 100 live to 101. Well, she made it three more years than that... must be that strong Irish will.
My dad's parents died years before I was born, so I think that's part of the reason I had my one Grandma around for so long -- she was as good as having all four grandparents. When my sister and I were growing up, she was not only our Grandma, but sometimes our babysitter, and also a friend. And I always appreciated her wicked sense of humour.
By the end, she was more than ready to go, and being a devout Irish Catholic, often prayed to God in her latter years, saying that she was just getting tired of living. Her eyes were failing her, as were many other things, but she always seemed so strong until the end.
When my dad called me to tell me that Grandma had died, I felt a sense of relief for her, since I knew she'd been waiting, and was finally at peace. I guess what I'm trying to say here is, if you are still lucky enough to have grandparents around, don't take them for granted. If they've been even half as good to you as my Grandma was to me, visit them as often as you can and do whatever you can for them. Chances are they've made your life better in a bunch of different ways, and a little appreciation goes a long way. You'll be glad you did.
R.I.P. Margaret Mary Kennedy, 1902-2005