Live, Love, & Laugh

I’ve nearly had the same routine for every Thanksgiving Day in the past decade. First, I’d go to the Turkey Bowl football game between the rival schools Loyola Blakefield and Calvert Hall then I’d have dinner with my parents. However, Thanksgiving Day five years ago was different. 

I still attended that game in the frigid cold and sat on Loyola’s sideline talking with my good friend John. However, after the game I ate dinner alone because my parents were traveling. Not wanting me to be alone, John invited me to go to dinner with his family at Friendly Farms.

Arriving, I was greeted by John and 10 members of his family. Out of everyone I met, John’s grandmother Mrs. Bunny— whom I now call Gram Gram—stood out the most. The matriarch of the family, Gram Gram was short, petite, gorgeous white hair, and soft voice. Walking with a walker, she wore a big blue Loyola Blakefield hockey jacket over a dress with her name “Bunny” embroidered on the left chest, and had fresh grey new balance to match. She was by far one of the nicest woman I’ve ever met.

During my drive home I was extremely grateful to John and his family for embracing me with open arms. The holidays are when people spend time with those closest to them. On that day, I was accepted as a member into their family and that's something I could never repay them for.

The following year my parents were in town and I had a decision to make. Like normal I was going to the game but who would I be with for dinner? Still extremely grateful, I told my parents that I would be attending dinner with John and Gram Gram. To my surprise, my parents asked if they could attend.

What began as a kind gesture between friends, turned into a new tradition between two families. Every year since, my parents and I look forward to the conversation and camaraderie.

Over the past year, Gram Gram’s health started deteriorating. Despite that she had two goals that she wanted to accomplish. She wanted to see the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup and she wanted to make it to Thanksgiving dinner one last time.

Guess what? Both happened!

This week, Gram Gram was called home to her final resting place at the age of 88. At her ceremony, everyone spoke about how she lived life selflessly, loved people, and always had a joke to share.

LIVE, LOVE, & LAUGH. What a way to live your life.

We should all LIVE, LOVE, & LAUGH. We all have the ability to help others and live selflessly. We don’t know when our time will be called so we should do everything we can now. Don’t wait until tomorrow to help someone when you have the ability to do it today.

One smile, or small gesture can have an everlasting impact on someone!

The next email you’ll receive will be my blog titled “My Guardian Angel”. It’s the story about my cousin who I lost tragically 3 years ago.

During this holiday season, let's be mindful of those who may not have family or friends to spend time with. Please considering reaching out and offering a kind gesture.

Your friend,

Van Brooks