Leaving a Legacy Like Granny: Part 4
This is part four and the final installment of the Women’s History Month legacy series on Bertha “Granny” Mabry. I have enjoyed telling this story of a special needs pioneer who planted a seed in my community and left such a beautiful legacy in her personal life and work. Part 3 and the beginning of the series can be found here .
When Granny learned that her youngest son Sanford was born with a disability, she became an advocate not only for her son but other special needs children. Her advocacy meant countless hours learning, researching, and serving to make a difference. I recently spoke with Granny’s daughter Martha because I wanted to know what it was like seeing these things unfold, and what impact it has had on her today. Martha told me that she feels that she and her brother have more compassion because of the life they lived; that she is so actively involved in many things because this is the life she saw her mother live. She says that this “good stuff” has rubbed off on her husband and her own kids. Isn’t that beautiful?
In all the time I spent talking to Martha and learning about their lives, what has stayed with me most is what happened after Granny died. At the time of her death in April 2013, Sanford still lived at home with Granny. When she died, Martha and her husband moved into Granny’s home so that Sanford could continue to live in a place that is comfortable for him. Martha proudly told me, “I knew forever that’s what I would do. Take care of Sanford.” With all I have learned about Granny’s work in the community—perhaps the biggest influence she made was within her own family tree. Now that’s a legacy!
Some people have a focus and ability that seem to drive them to do so much and then do even more on top of that. Their actions seem almost effortless. I’m not sure I have that kind of drive. But there is a part of me that believes there is a little bit of Granny in all of us. It is what prompted me to want to tell this story. So that we can all have something nudging at us to not only do for others, but be reminded that when we make a difference in our own families, we are making a difference all around us.
I am so motivated and inspired by this woman that I never knew. While I may never help open a school or travel abroad as a special needs advocate, I am conscious of little things I do each day to be the best wife, mom, sister and friend. Truly, the things that I do impact and leave an imprint on others. This is true for all of us whether we are aware of it or not.
As you move from day to day is there purpose and intent in the things you do? What will you continue doing or start doing now to leave a legacy like Granny?