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  • W.C. Young

Gram was my biggest fan

I didn't really understand Gram until I started understanding myself.

Gram raised my dad by herself after her first husband, William Young, died. Dad was fifteen. Her center was the church, regardless of denomination. “Will, all of us are God’s people,” she would tell me. “We all need a shoulder to cry on from time to time and a positive word to uplift us at our moments of weakness. Never turn your back on God. Keep him close and know, listen, and believe.”

Later, during my journey through the hell of the trial, remembering Gram’s honest and direct words connected me to my faith in my darkest hours. I recalled conversations that meant nothing when I was a kid, but they were my lifeline when I was an adult.

Gram’s strong personality helped make her exceptional in an era when women didn’t speak out. She could be harsh and critical, yet she provided unconditional support and prayed for everyone. She taught me that helping others was more important than anything else.

Gram always made me feel like Superman. I was the shortest player on the basketball court and the littlest guy on the baseball field. In school I was known as the odd kid with challenging parents. But

Gram encouraged me. She’d tell me, “Willy, you’re the best, and there’s nothing you can’t do. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.” I say these same words to my kids every night when I put them to bed.

Gram made an incredible difference in the lives of those close to her and in her local community. She championed those who needed defending; she sobbed and offered condolences for other people’s tragedies. And she was very generous. She made sure you never left her house empty handed, even if all she had to give you was a handful of stale candy corn, a discolored vase with a small crack, or—my personal favorite—moldy banana bread. She often gifted me with an out-of-date calendar, which I’d hang in my bedroom to remind me of the importance of giving.

Gram was an example to my sister and me, showing us the importance of intentions. She taught us intent is not only nine-tenths of the law but nine-tenths of your actions. When things went wrong, she would ask the simple question, “What were your intentions?” I always took her words to heart and strived to live my life with good intentions.

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