Last Updated on December 26, 2015 by Kristi Linauer
I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to end this week on a bit of a personal note by honoring a very special woman. You see, today is my maternal grandmother’s 99th birthday. Her name is Thelma, but we grandkids call her Mernie. You may call her that, too, if you’d like.
Now I know when most people think of a 99-year-old woman, they automatically picture one who is weak, frail, slow, needs help with basic daily tasks, and whose mind isn’t what it once was.
Well, that’s not my grandmother. Not even a little bit. Meet Mernie…
Isn’t she beautiful? She is truly one of those salt-of-the-earth types of people. She’s an amazing woman, and I’m so blessed to be her granddaughter. She is strong, determined, courageous, kind, loving, sincere, hardworking, disciplined and hard headed (in the most wonderful way). And if there is such a thing as the DIY gene, it was passed to me through her.
The fact that she is still alive today, and still lives such an active, vivacious life is due to that sheer determination and courage. You see, about 38 years ago, right before I was born, she and my grandfather were in a terrible fire at their home as they were working on their own DIY project…their bathroom. A product that they were using had very strong flammable vapors, and as the hot water heater in the bathroom came on, the vapors caught on fire, and Mernie was trapped in the bathroom.
My grandfather got her out, suffering burns himself, but Mernie suffered 3rd degree burns over 54% of her body. The doctors were convinced that she would not live, and were even more convinced that if by some miracle she did live, she would never be able to walk again, would have no use of her hands, and would therefore have to have someone take care of her and do everything for her for the remainder of her life.
But through sheer determination, courage, and excruciatingly painful treatments and therapy, she stared death in the face and told it exactly where it could go.
This is me, days old, with Mernie while she was still in the hospital.
Needless to say, Mernie made a full recovery. A few years later, she helped put a new roof on their lake house. She lives alone, does everything for herself, rakes her own yard, helps carpool her nephew’s kids, and does anything else you would expect of a woman in her 60’s. lol…
Mernie on a motorcycle, of course! When someone told her they sure were glad she doesn’t act her age, Mernie replied, “I have never been this age before so so I don’t know how to act.” Ha! I love that!
When I’m going through a difficult time and want to feel sorry for myself, I always think of Mernie. I imagine the hardship she went through, and her determination and refusal to feel sorry for herself. I imagine the excruciating pain that she endured, and yet refused to complain.
I can’t even tell you how many times in my life I’ve faced a challenge, and wanted to feel sorry for myself or complain or give up, and then I thought to myself, “How would Mernie handle this?” The answer is always clear. She would stare that hardship in the face with steely determination, and she would push through without feeling sorry for herself and without complaining.
Mernie was in a parade this past Christmas in her home town,
and rode in the rumble seat of this beautifully restored car.
Mernie is also the picture of faithfulness and selflessness, always ready to serve others, and her love for Christ is evident in her life. I will be eternally blessed (literally) for the rich heritage that was passed along to me through her faith and her love for God.
I could go on and on. Oh, how I wish each of you could meet her and know her. I can guarantee you that your lives would be richer because of it. I hope that my words have at least conveyed a small fraction of how amazing she is. The world is a better place because of her.
Happy birthday, Mernie!! I love you, I’m so proud of you, I’m so blessed to be your granddaughter, and I will be eternally thankful for the rich heritage that you have passed along to me.
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Hope you have a great weekend! And don’t forget about this link party this weekend. Come show off the things you’ve been working on!! Since Sunday is Easter, I might try to post the link party on Saturday evening if I have time.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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