When my grandmother’s brain aneurysm burst in 2010 she demanded a Tylenol and insisted everything was fine. She’d always believed she was invincible, and until then she was right. She passed away this March. They’d only given her a few months to live back then, but her stubborn ass powered through another ten years.

This past weekend was supposed to be her celebration of life. But COVID happened. And it kept happening. And Deadwood, South Dakota, her home town, is right in the thick of the spike.

In honor of Grandma Marilyn I have made a list of ways I want to learn from her life–do’s and don’t’s. 

  1. Never apologize for what isn’t your fault.
  2. Some people suck. You don’t have to suck it up and hang around them anyway–cut them off.
  3. Family comes first.
  4. Be bold and feisty. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you better be the talk of the town.
  5. It’s 100% up to you to break your negative habits before they catch up to you.
  6. Moderation and balance are key. Don’t over or under do it. 
  7. Ending relationships can be cathartic.
  8. You need to be your own best friend.
  9. Eat the fucking dessert. Especially if it’s chocolate and caramel.
  10. Watermelon is a pointless fruit.
  11. Go hiking more.
  12. You aren’t invincible.
  13. Don’t be afraid to let go. It’s better to drift into the unknown than to cling to the unhappy familiar.

Grandma wouldn’t want me to mourn and lament–she’d want me to get vodka drunk and go out gambling. To meet her in the middle, I’m having a WhiteClaw at home and making lists.

I want to be the last in the bloodline to carry the generational trauma from her mother, and her mother’s mother. I want to learn for all of us. Letting her be my teacher is the most important step.

2 responses to “Marilyn”

  1. Kristin Stephenson Avatar
    Kristin Stephenson

    Love this. She was such an amazing woman, and I know she lives on in you!


  2. This post is awesome… I turn 21 here soon and will be in town the following weekend to renew by ID. Let’s get a drink and toast to your grandma. (:


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