Happy Birthday In Heaven, Grandma!


    Today is my Grandmother’s birthday and I can’t help feeling sad that she is not here with us on this day every year.  I think perhaps writing about her and what she meant to me will help me to feel a little bit better.  Also, by talking about her here, I keep her memory alive forever even after I’m gone.  That is the beautiful thing about the written word, it lasts for all eternity.

    Sarah Marie Walker was my maternal Grandmother.  She was nicknamed Sally by her father and the name stuck through to adulthood.  Her parents, Francis and Elizabeth already had a son named James when she was born and had another son, Edward, years later which made her their only daughter.

    Sally was raised in a devout Catholic household by her Irish mother and English father who had been forced to convert from being Protestant when he married Elizabeth.  Her father was a Merchant Marine so he was away most of the time and she helped her mother with her younger brother since she was much older than him.  It was probably during these years that she learned how to take care of herself.

    Over the years, I have heard how fiercely proud, strong, and independent my Grandmother was from those who knew her best.  I won’t discuss the reasons why here because I don’t want to invade her privacy but she was a single mother to three children.  To make ends meet, she worked as a waitress at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s for the majority of her adult life.  Despite having a difficult and exhausting job along with hardly any money, she never complained.

    A lot of the information that I am giving you about her life is not in detail because she was a fiercely private person and she would not have appreciated me spreading her personal business on the Internet.  I’m trying to give you a sense of who she was and what she meant to me without disrespecting her feelings.  Grandma was also a big smoker because she grew up during a time when everyone smoked and nobody knew how bad it was for your health.

    We ultimately lost her to Lung Cancer because of her years of being a smoker.  She died a few months before my first wedding and it was the first time that I ever experienced a sense of complete loss for someone that I loved.  I think about her quite often and lament the fact that she never had the chance to meet any of her great-grandchildren.

    Today, on her birthday, I want to remember her and pay homage to her as the matriarch of our family.  She taught me a lot of things about being a woman and about picking up and moving forward even when things get really difficult.  She loved Elvis Presley and, every time one of his songs come on, I can’t help thinking about her.

Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma.  You are always on my mind… xoxo Let’s Discuss:  What memories do you have of your grandparents that passed away that have stayed with you over the years?

© 2014, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. I only have one living grandparent, but for those who have passed I just know that they were about family first. They made A LOT of sacrifices so that my parents could have a better life than they did.

  2. All my grandparents have been gone for many many years now. I remember them all with love and affection.

  3. All of mine have been gone for a long time, but I do still think of them often. I love to try to live in a way that they would approve of (back when values were different).

  4. Lesley Stevens says

    What stunning photographs of your Grandma. I’m fortunate that I have both of my grandmothers still to this day. This is a wonderful and endearing blog post. Happy Birthday Grandma.

  5. Melanie Roberts says

    Awww what a sweet post and OMG.. Her photograph is AMAZING… LOVED it.. wishing her a happy Birthday, too 🙂 in our hearts she will always be with us

  6. mail4rosey says

    I love that you’re still respecting what she would want in your post. I always remember my grandmother on her birthday too. 🙂

  7. My grandmother’s birthday is also this month and I miss her a lot. I have memories of her reading to me, dressing me up for holidays in dresses with Easter hats, shoes, and purses, and always being there for me.

  8. Terry My Journey With Candida says

    Your Grandmother looks so beautiful in that picture. She has a lot of style, that’s for sure. That phone is such a blast from the past.

  9. I only had one grandma. I think of her often and miss her.

  10. What a beautiful tribute to your Grandmother. I smiled as I read your post, because your love for her bounces off the page. I miss my Grandmother most in spring because she gave me my love of gardening (and Lilacs!) and there are certain foods and scents that will immediately take me back to Sunday suppers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

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