Yesterday would have been my late Grandmother’s 84th birthday. Her name was Shirly, spelled like the man’s name instead of Shirley. If you know me at all, you know that I will always think of her as an angel placed for a time on Earth.

Along with my Grandfather, Robert Patriquin, she was a foster parent who cared for more than 400 children over 39 years. They eventually adopted 22 of those kids… my Mother being one of them. We were all so blessed to be part of their family, and I am thankful everyday for the life they gave me. My Grandma acted as if the sun rose and set on my shoulders, and she empowered me to make the most out of every moment in my life. She once told me that I would “change the world, one person at a time.” I have never forgotten that, and I try to live my life in such a way that I honor the confidence and faith she had in me.

She passed on January 29, 1995, and I miss her more everyday. I can’t believe it has been eleven years that she has been gone. At her memorial service, I read these words from an old George Jones song. They were the best way I knew to say how much she meant to us all.

Mama’s work is done
Now she’s gone on home…
The words in our hearts
Are engraved on her stone


She loved a lot in her time
She watched love grow and die on the vine
She stood in the shadows
So others could shine
She loved a lot in her time

Grandma, you loved a lot in your time.

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