Lessons I've Learned from Gangsta Granny
Gangsta Granny passed away on Sept 25, 2012
I'm honored to have called Gangsta Granny a friend of mine. She came into my life in 2010, but the time span feels like a lifetime. She has left my life way to soon.
During the time I've known GG she had made a huge impact on myself and many others.
Gangsta Granny will forever be in Sunshine's heart, whether she wants to be or not. I'm thinking she might approve of my decision.
We met in a Facebook prostate cancer group because both of our husbands were victims of the dreaded disease. My husband continues to battle the beast.
I truly believe my guardian angel was looking out for me when I was sent Gangsta Granny. While chatting one day we discovered that Linda's sister and my mother both passed away of cancer on 02/20/02.
Maybe both of our guardian angels were looking out for us. Linda is now with our guardian angels.
Linda Palmer Kelly
I call her GG for short. Even though we've never met, she had taught me more about strength and camaraderie during our friendship than text books could have taught me in a lifetime.
Those of you who are familiar with my hubbing activity know that I'm a pimp, so having a gangsta in my life seemed appropriate. Her nickname came about one day when we were discussing an upcoming movie about the life of John Gotti. GG informed me that while she was growing up in New York she hung out in the same hood as Gotti's cronies. How cool is that! She was also a loving, caring granny to her five grandchildren whom by the way aren't familiar with her alternate lifestyle. GG lived in the south, she went from being a Yankee to being a hick in the sticks who enjoyed being a beach babe!
While Dennis was on Hospice Care we were all still hoping for a miracle! "Never give up" is what GG always said! Dennis fought like heck to beat the cancer, but in the beginning he was misguided by his doctor. His cancer was already advanced when he was diagnosed over two years ago. On behalf of Dennis I would like to remind everyone once again, about the importance of being your own health advocate. Doctor's are human, they make mistakes. Don't be one of their errors in judgement. I wished Dennis the best with his journey.
GG was the sole caregiver to her husband Dennis. He passed away on January 10th, 2012. They celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on Nov. 16, 2011. This was sadly their last anniversary on earth.
GG was also the caregiver to her 90 year old mother who has dementia. Bless her heart. I can't imagine how she tended to both her husband and mother daily, on her own. With the help of no one. Each and every day she would tend to her husband's needs and then turn around and tend to her mother's needs. In the meanwhile she would pop onto Facebook to socialize with her Facebook friends and make them laugh. Yes, even when Linda was at her lowest she gained her strength from making her friends smile.
Lately when I've been faced with a dilemma in my life, I think of GG and how she inspired me. Her strength and valor reminds me that even when we think we don't have the strength to deal with the lemons of life, we really do! We just need to keep on squeezing! Even on her bad days she still offers hope, inspiration and smiles to her friends and family. She truly amazed me!
I was always amazed on how she never felt sorry for herself. Most people would say "why me?" not GG. Not Dennis. One day I asked her why she never had a pity party. Her response was short and sweet, yet sad..."There are so many others who have it worse than we do, we sympathize for them." Wow. I haven't had a pity party since that day. Her answer is the truth.
Now, when life throws me a curve I think of the children who battle cancer. They should be playing in sandboxes and riding bikes, not battling cancer. So unfair for them. So young, so innocent and cancer invaded their lives. My heart is sad for them.
In September 2012 GG wasn't feeling well. She hesitated about getting treatment because she had no one to watch her mom. Yet, her physician finally insisted she go to the hospital. She was diagnosed with small cell Lung Cancer. Linda continued to share her journey with her Facebook friends. She made us laugh. She continued to support her friends while she was on an oxygen machine to help her breathe.
After one week of treatment Linda died suddenly due to a Pulmonary Artery Rupture. Her friends and family were devastated. She was feeling so much better and was able to breathe on her own once again without the use of oxygen. Her airways were no longer blocked. She's now gone.
This November of 2012, GG and Dennis will be celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary together in heaven. May they have the time of their lives.
Thank you GG for teaching Sunshine that even though you came from the same neck of the woods as Gotti's cronies you could still had a heart of gold and that you don't need a machine gun to prove your point or to get what you want.
Linda, you fought and you inspired others to fight. Even when our worlds are falling apart we still gather strength from our loved ones and we carry on! The pimp in me appreciates the gangsta in you. We can really go places with the connections we have. You are always on my mind and in my heart.
Some Lessons I've Learned From GG
Leaning on friends for support is not a sign of weakness.
Insanity comes natural. Don't fight it. Go with the flow.
Never assume just because I say I'm fine means that I'm fine.
Don't ever think I don't have your back.
Aging gracefully is really possible when you look at GG!.
Kewlness is a must have to be a Gangsta Granny!
Enjoy making memories because you will have them forever.
Listen to your intuition because chances are you're correct.
Linda is the best name in the universe ... no ifs, ends or buts!
You are never too old to bust a move! Go GG!
Rest In Peace:
Dennis Kelly Jan. 10, 2012
Linda Kelly Sept. 25, 2012
You are gone, but never forgotten. Your heroism, determination and your laughter will live on in the hearts and minds of many.
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© 2011 Linda Bilyeu
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