96-year-old Grandma gives love advice

96-year-old Grandma gives love advice
Grandma & Grandpa Gillespie

Some older couples exude deep love and wisdom. That's my parents who hold hands and praise each other. That was also my Dad's parents.

Although my Grandfather passed away 20 years ago, I'm grateful for daily calls and regular visits with my Grandma. Our family foundation is based on doing the right thing.

My Grandma Gillespie relies on her good values, but is unaware of contemporary buzz words. Her marital advise mirrors active listening. Erik Barker explains how active listening affirms the other person you understand what they're saying and are empathetic.

My Grandma, Margaret Gillespie, was married for decades to my Grandfather Daniel. He passed away when I was 16 years old. To this day, she's never said a disparaging word about him. Similar to my parents, they treated each other with the utmost respect.

They overcame daily challenges with love and kindness. My Grandmother immigrated to the United States as a young girl. Her family is from Mayo, Ireland. They naturally sought better opportunities in the United States.

My grandparents were proud Americans. They recounted how their fathers worked in the stock yards and for the local public transportation company, which is now called the CTA.

She and my Grandfather shared similar Irish Catholic backgrounds. They both had brothers named John and Thomas. Their two children are named Daniel Thomas and John Francis.

Both of their families settled on the West of Chicago near Jackson and California. My Grandma, her three sisters, two brothers and parents called the first floor of a three flat home. She met my Grandfather at a local church dance. The rest is history.

My Grandfather helped support my Dad and his brother as a Chicago Police Officer and detective. Photos he took of us grand kids and his sergeant badge still hang in their Chicago home on the Northwest  side. He worked an extra job as a shoe salesman at Weibolts. My Grandmother was a telephone operator for Ameritech.

My Grandmother still carries herself with confidence. She and my Grandfather worked toward their goals. She looked forward to special occasions and planned her outfits with care.

My Grandparents encouraged my Dad in his education. He followed my Grandfather's footsteps as a Chicago Police Officer. He worked his way through law school. I remember the happy day he was sworn in as a judge with our family behind him. She and my Grandfather both dressed their best.

My Grandparents were committed to their labor of love. They celebrated our American dream. They persevered through hardship.

My Grandmother says the secret to a long and happy marriage is patience. If someone is stressed, give them space. I remember waiting for my Grandma with my Grandfather in their gray Oldsmobile. She seemed to take forever to get ready for mass on Sunday mornings.

They made memories on cruises and trips that she still fondly recounts.

Even though my Grandmother must have aches and pains, she chooses to be positive. She stays in the moment and seems to not stress.

My Grandma told my sister, her namesake, she wishes people may continue to have their beautiful smile that they do when they are babies. She finds comfort in the big picture full of faith and hope.

Perhaps that's why my Grandma is so calm. She was my Grandfather's rock. They are both a bit reserved.

I remember the two of them driving my family to the airport before their were security rules. My Grandfather would wear one of his many fedora hats. My Grandma wore her mink coat and high heels.

This Mary Tyler Mom Married with Kids post inspired me to ask more questions the other day about my Grandparents' long marriage. My Grandmother said how important it is to listen and empathize with how that person is feeling. Try to anticipate why they are stressed and be supportive.

Daily life can get hectic and it can get hard to remember those simple acts of kindness. Big thanks to my Grandma. My Dad would say that's just what my Mom does...

I aspire to be more like them... Any good love advice nuggets as we approach Valentine's Day?

Best wishes for love and kindness to you and yours! XO

From my archive: Beautiful love quotes for Valentine's Day

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