{Grandma Helen–isn’t she gorgeous?– and my mom}
Today is my Grandma Helen’s birthday. She passed away in 2003, but I still think of her often.
I remember her as a stunning woman with a radiant smile and beautiful voice.  She and my Grandpa were high school sweethearts. She was a nurse, a world traveler, and she spent her life in service to others.

I always felt particularly close to her because my birthday falls just the day after hers. I remember many joint celebrations, and can still hear her singing “Happy Birthday”.  (I think she might be horrified to hear how our family sings that song now *Dad and David*, ahem) She was also a year ahead in school, just like I was.
This beautiful woman has always been an example of strength and faith to me. She was extremely blessed throughout her life, but she also faced difficult, heartbreaking challenges. Brain tumors, the death of an infant daughter, infertility…

{Four generations– Great Grandma Bauer, Grandma Helen, My Mama, and me}
I feel more drawn to her now than ever.  Just like in our little family, my dear mother is her parents’ only living biological child.  My grandparents then adopted 3 boys, my “favorite uncles” ;).  
And I know, and have always known, that those fun, protective uncles were meant to be ours.
I have been thinking of Grandma a lot in the past years.  Wishing she was here and I could talk to her, that she could give me strength and patience in this seemingly endless waiting. Though she is no longer physically here, I still feel close to her.  Her example, her faith and her love helped to shape the woman I am. I still draw strength and encouragement from her smile.
Happy birthday, Grandma.
I love you!

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