As I get older, I am reminded over and over again of how precious and fleeting life is. The words “Remember Amanda , Love Hard” replayed over in my mind today as I said my final goodbye to a very special woman, Maggie. Before last October, It had been some years since I had seen or talked to her. I got a call from my mom, saying that Maggie was in a nursing home. She had fallen and hurt herself. Her children lived in different states and wanted someone to keep her company and to make sure that she was getting the care that she needed.

I started visiting Maggie three days a week. I remember the first time I went to see her, I was a little nervous because Maggie had the early stages of dementia and I wasn’t sure if she would remember me. As soon as I walked into the room, Maggie’s face lit up and I felt at ease. I brought my son with me and she just adored him. She kept saying, what a handsome boy he was and how he was such a nice young man. My son enjoyed Maggie’s company and giggled as she gave us the scoop on everyone in the nursing home.

As I spent more time with her we talk about many things. I told her that I used to enjoy watching her cook when I was little. She used to make me this sweet rice with milk, cinnamon and sugar. She would sit me on the counter and teach me Spanish. Some words I still remember. She would say “Mi hija, tienes esos ojos bonitos”.

She talked to me about my grandma Betty and told me how they became the best of friends. She talked about what a strong woman my grandmother was and how she was the foreman over a bunch of men, during a time when that wasn’t very common. She told me many things about my grandmother that I didn’t know and I am so grateful for those precious conversations, as she was another very special woman in my life.

My grandma Betty and Maggie were a lot alike, two extremely strong women, who loved with everything they had but also told it like it was. They didn’t take any shit. I believe that Maggie’s message to me was to “Love Hard”. Hold your loved ones close. Let them know what they mean to you and don’t let anger or foolishness divide you because someday your going to close you eyes for the last time.

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