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I believe that every person in, in their own unique way, creates a legacy in their lifetime by which others can live long after that person has left us. For those of us who remain, Mildred Johnson has truly created a legacy to uphold and fulfill in our daily lives. I firmly believe that this carrying out is a true honor and responsibility by means of the various facets that Mildred has made her own.
Love : Above all, Mildred Johnson is a figure of unconditional love. Love was the major fabric by which she created her tapestry of life. In the raising of her own children, the teachings of her grandchildren, and in how she welcomed in new family and friends, her unconditional strong love is what has made our family what it is today and what will keep us together from this day forward.
Spirit : My Grandma, Mildred Johnson, is a true woman of faith. For as far back as I can remember, my Grandma has been a conveyor of the word of God in developing her family and living her daily life. Never would she miss a Sunday to share the word and love of God. As time moves forward not all of God’s children remain strong enough as before to lead his flock. Nor can all of God’s choir continue to sing quite as loudly as they always have. This is the time when the Lord takes them into his hands to rest their souls as he has now done with Mildred. Make no mistake, however, as the legacy of spirit that she has created in all of us will continue to live on.
Family : My Grandmother Mildred truly defined the word family as I have come to learn and live it. Holidays and family gatherings were the celebrations they were because they were surrounded by Grandma’s love. I watched family such as my late uncle Reginald become the amazing family man he was because of traditions instilled by his mother. I have also seen her daughter - my aunt Milinda – raise three beautiful children by the love and traditions passed down from Grandma. I, of course, owe most of who I am from Grandma’s love passed down through my own mother Rayetta and her husband George, whom Grandma so highly regarded.
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Integrity : Another element of the legacy that Mildred Johnson has left is that of integrity. Grandma bestowed such a high level of importance to honesty that it made it impossible for any of her children to act otherwise. “Grandma knows” is an expression that I’m sure that we can all relate to that kept us in check. Just when I would think that something might pass Grandma by she’d have a quick comeback such as, “You might think this old coot can’t remember but I do!” And it’s true – Grandma always did indeed know.
Joy : If all of what I’ve mentioned is the fabric in the legacy that Mildred Johnson created then I think all of it is framed by her sense of joy. Grandma’s sense of joy for life was enough to make us all smile no matter the circumstance and befriend those she may have barely known. I know that we all have our own examples of moments when Grandma would make us unexpectedly laugh and laugh and it is her contagious radiant smile that we all will never forget. It might have been the laugh after her beating us in the hundredth hand of rummy or enjoying the follies of one of her babies Lucy, Licorice, Buffy, Kelly, or Colleen all bringing so much joy into her own life. One thing is certain and that is that we all will continue to hear her laughter and remember Grandma’s joy can maybe help us all to maybe not take life so seriously as she would always teach me.
It is all of these elements love, spirit, family, integrity, and joy that are fabrics by which Millie created her tapestry of life. However each us knew her, Millie, Mildred, Grandma, Mom, Sister, she has also always been a child of God and now stands beside him to make sure that we all carry forth all of that which she has taught us.
Grandma .. you have been more to me than you can possibly imagine. Whatever the distance would be geographically between us, you can look down upon me from heaven and know that I personally accept the incredible honor and responsibility of carrying on your traditions and love in all that I do. Grandma, you have created your own dynamic legacy of love, spirit, family, integrity, and joy. As the dove of life that represents all that you are now soars to heaven above, it is now your time to rest, sit back in that big cozy armchair which is now heaven for you, and know that the world is a better place for the legacy you’ve created.