She was divorced from an abusive crack addict, a single mother. 2 of her biological children had serious mental health issues, her oldest son schizophrenic, her only daughter bipolar. I remember the one and only time I saw her cry. It wasn’t when her own mother who she’d taken care of all my life had died, it wasn’t when her father had died, it wasn’t when I told her I didn’t want her love but that I wanted my mom. Her tears covered her face after her children tried to kill each other outside our apartment. I remember them (my mother and my uncle) screaming at her that it was her fault their father had become addicted to drugs, that it was her fault he left. My uncle drenched in his own blood because my mother hit him with her van at 30 miles per hour, stood screaming profanities at the woman who did her best to raise him on her own. My mother still in risqué clothing from her exotic dancing job, stood screaming at her mother that she had ruined them, that she alone was the cause of everything wrong in their lives. I could tell by the pain I can still hear in her mourn, that she believed that. My grandmother was a tough woman. She was born from a 14 year old little girl who’d had 7 children total. My grandmother being the oldest diligently strived to assist with the care of all 6 of her siblings. She never heard “you’re beautiful” or “I’m proud of you”. So she never did use those words with any of her children. She told us that life was unfair and that people will likely always take your hard work and genuine nature for granted. She’d quote my favorite Mother Theresa quote telling us to “do it anyway”, and to ” do all things as if your doing them for God”. But she didn't just say those words, she lived by them. She only had 2 friends and each of them refered to her as the best friend they ever had. My grandmother worked as a nurse after she adopted my siblings and I. She worked 3 jobs, took us to Bible study 3 nights a week, ministry once a week, family Bible studies were regular almost daily. We were allowed to talk about how we felt. No matter how embarrassing or scary she would always listen. She never took a dime from either of our parents after she saved us from sexual and physical abuse, even calling the police on her own son even though that broke her heart. She built a home for us and got us out of that ghetto apartment out of the sweat on her brow. And she did it alone. When my mom went to prison I was bitter and I lashed out on her often blaming her just as my mother had. But she held space for me. She was still housing her 2 sons, had rehabilitated 6 children who were told they’d never be able to walk or talk and she was sending money to her daughter in prison. Many times I remember her words of wisdom. Her patience, her resolve to never, ever give up on the people she loves. ”Where there’s life there's hope” she says. I am beyond blessed to have had such an unshakable, powerful, beautiful woman raise me and if I do nothing else right in my life I ”hope” I can show her how proud I am to call her my grandmother, the woman who raised me.