Contributed by: Deb Gruver
My maternal grandmother was blessed with a beautiful heart, but she was a bad alcoholic. After her father died, my mother spent her childhood bailing my grandmother out of jail, covering up for her and taking care of her all while enduring great poverty and trying to go to school.
At some point, my mom moved out on her own. By then, my grandmother was living in a hotel room, where she started a fire while she was smoking and drinking.
One day soon after, my mom passed my grandmother on opposite sides of the street. The person who was with my mom told her to keep walking, to pretend like she didn’t know her mother.
My mom couldn’t do it. She crossed the street.
She said “hello” to her mom and told her she still loved her.
I think she was 16 or 17.
A few years ago, my mom and I were talking about a dear friend of mine who is an alcoholic. I have tried my best the past 12 years to do what I can to help him. I had reached a point where I didn’t know what to do for him anymore, and I called my mom, crying uncontrollably.
I knew my mom’s heart ached for me because she had loved an alcoholic, too.
She told me she understood why I cared about him.
“You and I,” she said, “We cross the street for other people.”
I don’t know anyone more good-hearted than my mother. She had every right to become a bad person. Instead, she became the kind of person who walks up to mothers on the bus and gives them $20 because she can tell they don’t have enough money for their kids. She volunteers at Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Joseph, where she spreads cheer with her goofy songs and always-on smile.
My mom crosses the street every day for someone else. She’s an inspiration to everyone who meets her, especially me.