Their Last Gift by Mary Kristen Ferguson

Growing up a few miles away from all three of my grandparents, I never really knew how blessed I was until I was much older. I wish that they were alive now for me to thank them for all the time, money, and energy that they spent on me. I have one very vivid memory of a day in middle school where I stayed home sick from school. My mom was at work, and around lunch time my grandmother showed up with my favorite order from Subway. She was elderly and didn’t come in because she didn’t want to get sick, but she left my sandwich on the front porch swing and knocked on my window to let me know it was there. Considering how hot the day was I assumed that she had gone home. I noticed about an hour later that she was just working on the flower beds in my parent’s yard.

The way that she took care of me when I was young really made taking care of them as they aged a no brainer for me. What started with me driving them to church at night evolved into driving them everywhere, taking them to their doctor’s appointments and making sure they took their medicine every day. Even though it was hard, I never saw it as a burden, but a chance for me to love them the way they loved me.

After three years of me caring for them, I was graduating from high school and going off to college in the fall. The decision was made that my Grandmother and Grandaddy would be moved to an assisted living facility in Atlanta, Georgia, where her two daughters and seven grandchildren lived at the time. Because I had started college at Mississippi State, I was unable to visit them until Christmas break. While I was there my Uncle Newt offered me an internship that coming summer at his company. I jumped at the chance to be close to my grandparents for the summer! The idea of making some money didn’t sound bad either.

When my grandparents were moved to the assisted living facility, I was angry, and I felt I should have more of a say. In hindsight, I can see why no one was thinking, “Let’s let the 18-year-old decide what to do.” Unfortunately, before summer came both my Grandmother, then my Grandaddy passed away. That same semester my Grandma passed away, too. The magnitude of the loss was devastating.

I decided after the semester ended, I was still going to honor my commitment to the internship. This was the attitude that I had when I arrived in Atlanta. My first few weeks in the big city felt intimidating. I was living with my cousins who were actual adults fifteen plus years older than I was. Over the course of that summer, I was able to form amazing relationships with my extended family I had only know from holiday gatherings. After all that my grandparents had given me and because of my love for them, I found a whole lot of other people to love.

I moved to Atlanta after I graduated from college with no job, no friends, and no place to live… But I had my family. They opened their homes to me, celebrated with me, and supported me in my career. I know that Grandmother and Grandaddy are really happy with the way it all turned out, and I hope one day I get to thank them for one of their greatest gifts.

Mary Kristen Ferguson

This makes me cry! I’m very proud of Mary Kristen! Thank you!!

She’s also passionate about helping fight against Alzheimer’s. If you would like to support her team, here’s a link.;js

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