By: Kirsten Snow
With Thanksgiving approaching, most college students are excited about spending the long weekend with their family. Ever since my family has moved back from Belgium in 2005, my grandmother (GranGran) would drive down to spend the holiday with us. However, our Thanksgiving is going to be a little different this year. GranGran passed away in October after battling cancer for the second time. She was a remarkable lady full of passion, wit, and intelligence. Although GranGran will not be with my family at Thanksgiving, she is a constant reminder about how many things in my life I have to be thankful for.
GranGran graduated from her high school as valedictorian. The principal was reluctant to give her the title after he could not believe that a woman was the smartest student in the class. She never let that stop her. One of her goals in life was to earn a bachelor’s degree for which she accomplished when she was in her 50s from McMurry University. She even spent one semester as an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin (hook ‘em). She told me that her English teacher was so impressed with her that Grangran took over teaching the class. GranGran joked that she was both a student and a professor at UT. As the only two longhorns in the family, GranGran and I shared a special bond.
GranGran had a passion for the arts. She came to all of my dance recitals (twice a year) even though she probably had seen me dance the Nutcracker 20 times. Her constant support and commitment to watch me perform is something I will always treasure. She used to do theater herself and was an avid ballroom dancer. GranGran liked to remind me that dancing is one of the only sports that you can participate in at any age.
This Thanksgiving she won’t physically be with us, but I will only need to look to my family to see how much she influenced us all and to be thankful that she was my GranGran and that she lives on through me.