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The Person I Most Admire

July 29, 2010
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Irene is the nicest person I know. 

She has spent her entire life taking care of others.  Her nature is to give.  Give everything she has and then some.  She’s one of those rare people who sees a need and then gets in there and does something about it.  She’s not satisfied until she makes an effort to meet the needs of others.  She’s always put herself last.  Her own needs are never the first thing she considers.

Her mother lived with her throughout her struggle with leukemia.  Irene took such good care of her, until the very end. 

Her husband had Alzheimer’s, and for many years, she dealt with its devastating effects.  He was a big man, and she absolutely wore her own body out taking care of him. 

These two examples are things that others have done, taking care of a parent or spouse.  Wonderful, yet they happen daily.  The thing about Irene is that her caring reaches far beyond her immediate family. 

She’s always taking a neighbor groceries, or going to the nursing home to visit various people, or taking older people to doctor’s appointments.  It’s part of her every day routine.  If a person has fallen on hard times financially, Irene will always slip them money.  Even if she doesn’t have it herself. 

Once, after a huge Thanksgiving Dinner that Irene cooked, as she was putting away the food, she started to make up plates.  She dipped several and wanted to know if I wanted to ride with her to give them out.  Off we went to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to the security guards at the beach flea market.  A few years earlier, she and her husband had a booth there.  And she knew that the security guards would have to work on the holiday. 

After delivering those plates, we drove several miles to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to a stray kitten behind a paper machine at a grocery store.  It wouldn’t let her touch it, but she’d seen it and was concerned that it was hungry. 

Who does that on Thanksgiving day, when you have cooked for days, have a house full of people, and dishes to wash?  

When I was 12 years-old, my mom passed away.  And Irene jumped in and made me feel loved.  She was there to fill that gaping hole that my mother’s death left so many times.  She was the person I called when I needed a mom.  Still is.  I was a hard teenager.  In trouble constantly.  Yet, she was always there for me.  She took me back to school shopping, she was the person I called about “female” problems.  She was and is such a big part of  my life.

And she’s like a grandmother to my boys.  All of my family loves her.  She and my husband talk on the phone as often as she and I talk.  They’re both really funny and the two of them wind each other up.  

My oldest son had to write about his hero in school.  Irene was who he chose.  Not a famous baseball player, or world leader, but a 70 something year old lady, who spends her days giving to others.  I was proud of him for choosing her.  And proud to know a real life hero.

As much as we love Irene, I’d dare say one member of my family adores her more than the rest. 

Sam.  

When we got his journal from four year-old preschool, he was asked to draw his family.  We were all pictured and labeled.  Irene was right there too.  The Williams Family. 

When he was about three, he’d comb his hair in front of the mirror and when he had it just so, he’d pronounce himself  “looking good like Irene.” 

We spend most of our summer at the beach where she lives, and every night, Irene has a date with Sam.  The big boys are too busy to tag along most nights.  But, she picks Sam up on her golf cart and they go for a ride.  They go to the pond and feed the turtles.  They visit another cousin and walk her dog before he comes home.  You can’t even imagine how much he looks forward to being with her.  Being one of three brothers,  and not having to share the spotlight must feel pretty good.

Until she arrives, he’s standing on the porch looking for her.  And sometimes, shouting her name, hoping she’ll hear it from a block away.

I appreciate her being a grandmother to my sons.  I appreciate her being there when I’ve needed a mom. 

In her life, she’s touched countless people.  I’d love to know how many.   And as busy as her life is, and it’s busy, she still takes time out for my little boy, and that means the world to me and to him.

If  everyone were like Irene, the world would be all that it could be.

Do you know an Irene? Or are you one?  

P.S.  These pictures don’t do her justice.  She’s got a great smile, but wasn’t crazy about having her picture made, so she didn’t flash it for me. 

P.S.S.  My camera just came from a really cold house and the lens was foggy and I wiped it on my shirt(I’m sure that’s a no no).  I’m assuming that’s why these look a little hazy.

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 8:26 am

    Will she be reading this? If not, you need to print it out and give it to her. Many people never have an “Irene” in life. She’s an amazing woman indeed!

  2. July 29, 2010 8:30 am

    What a loving tribute. I’m so glad that you all have one another.

    Family truly is what you make it.

  3. July 29, 2010 8:41 am

    Oh, I just loved this! Our family has an Irene too. Her name is Mary. She’s a 90-old woman full of energy and spunk! Originally from Russia, she has been through just about everything in her life and thus sees the world in a much different light than must people do. I alway say I want to grow up to be her. She is my Irene.

    Beautiful tribute. You made me cry, in a good way, as always!

  4. July 29, 2010 10:35 am

    I’ve known a number of Irene’s.

    I don’t live up to her standard yet.

    But I will keep trying.

    And yes, everyone should have an Irene.

  5. July 29, 2010 10:40 am

    Beautiful. You’re so very blessed to have an Irene. I don’t have one (though my grandmother came close, when she was alive), but I do aspire to be one. Because Irene is who she is, she inspires people to be “the change” in the world. And through telling stories like this, you remind people to be a little more like Irene.

    It’s all sorts of good.

  6. July 29, 2010 11:10 am

    Even though she isn’t smiling in the first picture, you can see the affection in her eyes. What a loving tribute to a lovely woman. Of course losing your mother at such a young age must have been devestating to you, thankfully you had Irene in your life. I hope she knows how much you admire her.

  7. July 29, 2010 11:46 am

    Sam is smiling enough for both of them.
    Does Irene have kids of her own?
    Great tribute and I am glad you have her in your life.

  8. July 29, 2010 12:04 pm

    I’ve been a lurker for a while…I love your blog. I LOVED this post. I’m sitting at my computer with big ol tears on my cheeks. You’re right everyone needs an Irene. Thank you for this!

  9. July 29, 2010 2:03 pm

    How sweet of you to recognize her. Too often we forget to say thanks or share how we feel. She sounds like a wonderful person who touched your life.

  10. July 29, 2010 2:16 pm

    Her face has kindness written all over it. What a special lady. God knew exactly what you needed…and he blessed you with Irene. Thanks so much for sharing her with us.

  11. July 29, 2010 5:04 pm

    I do not know an Irene, but I wish I did.

  12. July 29, 2010 6:24 pm

    Oh LL, I am all choked up reading about Irene! How lucky you were to have her when you really needed her, but to STILL have her in your lives you are truly blessed! I am always amazed at people like her, who give so selflessly and without even thinking twice.

    Your boys are so lucky to have her as well, and I love that they include her as part of the family!

  13. Caroline permalink
    July 29, 2010 8:34 pm

    I must say this is a wonderful tribute to my granny!!!!!! I too, find her the .most. remarkable.woman. in the whole world. I am going to see her this weekend and we WILL read this aloud and both share some tears…but tears of joy! You rock girl and I could not have written a better descriptions of her. I only hope I can be half the woman she is one day..We are two lucky ladies to have her in our lives. Expect a phone call after we read this together 🙂 xoxo Care

  14. July 29, 2010 9:32 pm

    How sweet. Really touching post. You and your boys are blessed to have her.

  15. July 30, 2010 12:38 am

    Having people like this in your life is a true gift, isn’t it? Makes you try to be a better person. I hope she knows how much she is admired and loved!

  16. July 30, 2010 11:17 am

    If this doesn’t inspire me to try to be a better person, then I don’t know what would. I bet she feels equally touched by you and your family!

  17. July 30, 2010 2:25 pm

    This is really beautiful. It makes me think about all the people in the world who are just rushing through life thinking of nothing beyond their work schedule or housekeeping. It’s nice that you have someone like this to enrich your life. Even nicer that you don’t keep it to yourself.

  18. July 30, 2010 2:26 pm

    That’s beautiful! She sounds like an amazing woman!

  19. July 30, 2010 10:16 pm

    What a beautiful blessing your family has! I have been blessed to have known a couple of Irenes in my lifetime, though my bond was not quite as strong. I love that picture; the love your son has for Irene absolutely radiates!

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