vintage flight attendantgrammy

My grandmother, Sarah Patrick Abide (or to me known as Grammy), recently passed away three months shy of her 90th birthday.  We shared the same birthday, and I’ve referred to her as my role model for as long as I can remember.

All of the incredible things she accomplished in her life are documented here, but with Mother’s Day around the corner, I want to share some of the things I learned from her. Both the woman she was to others and to her family.

  • Life is better when God is at the center. She lost both of her parents and younger brother when she was in jr. high and she lost her only son to a brain tumor when he was only 27.  She never steered from her faith, and there was never time for a pity party. She was always smiling, always warm and her goodness was infectious!
  • Put others before yourself and you’ll never regret it.
  • Travel often. As a flight attendant in the 50’s, Grammy loved to travel and explore. Some of her best days were when she was hopping city to city.
  • Toasted pound cake with butter is the most delicious breakfast option, best served guilt-free!
  • Women drink scotch.
  • Master a few recipes and grape leaves can go with every meal.
  • Canisters are really just different sized cookie jars.
  • When in doubt, wear pink.
  • Food is a language that everyone speaks.
  • Live and lead by example. A silent leader, she was never trying to teach us lessons, but taught us so much by the way she chose to live her life.
  • The best things in life are not possessions.  She ran a women’s clothing store for the majority of her life but she cared more about creating a community than a perfect house or wardrobe.

sarah patrick abidecbl weddingmy grammycarrie bradshaw lied weddingcarrie bradshaw lied wedding

photos by Will Jacks

My father’s mother passed away of breast cancer when he was only 10, so Grammy is the only grandmother I’ve ever known. As you can see in this post, we were incredibly close… although I think everyone who knew her would say that because she was just that kind of lady!

Without telling me, Christian wrote my mom a letter sharing his memories of my grandmother. He told my mom that he thought some of my best qualities came from Grammy.  He said that as he reflected on how much I’ve admired her all of these years, he realized that her journey from growing up in a small town to traveling all over the world and being based out of several metropolitan cities with American Airlines showed me as a young girl that I could set high ambitions and achieve them.

He also said he was happy to be along for the world tour that Grammy started and that I continue.  Queue the waterworks!

I was so fortunate to have her in my life for so long and we are beyond grateful that her life was long and her pain was short.  She’s now reunited with her husband, parents, brother, son and great granddaughter.  She’s the first person in our family to greet my niece Edie in heaven, and that makes all of us very, very happy.

If you have some life lessons you’ve learned from a special grandparent or family member – I would love love LOVE to hear! Thank you so much for reading – XO –

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:2-4

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69 thoughts on “What I Learned from my Grandmother

  1. Your post about your grandmother has touched my heart! I am a girl who has been so lucky to have not two, but three grandmothers. My dad’s dad remarried, and I have always been extremely close to my step-grandmother. My grandmothers have been an amazing influence in my life from showing me art, musicals, making me fall in love through their photos or our travels with seeing new communities and places around the world! My step-grandmother gave me the gift of style, and I remember as a little girl her teaching me how to take care of my body, face, etc. They have given me incredible strength and been at every dance recital, choir, and important life moment. The hard part is grandparents get older, as two of my grandmothers have Alzheimer’s so right now every phone call, facetime, and any second I can spend with them at home means the world.

    1. How luck you are! Love hearing how they have each touched your life and taken such a beautiful role in raising you. What a beautiful story! Hugs and prayers to you as you care for them now. I know that has to be so hard. Lots of love to you and thank you so much for sharing – XOXO

  2. A beautiful, heartfelt, and moving tribute to an angel of a woman. Your husband is a special man to recognize the beauty you reflect inside and out are gifts you received from ‘Grammy’ and the legacy she leaves, lives on in her child’s children and so it goes.
    A life well lived is a gift to all future generations. As I embark on my new journey as a grandmother myself, I take inspiration from this post and the positive impact a good and loving grandmother can have on her grandchildren. Thank you, Kathleen, for igniting the inspiration that was Sara Patrick Abide.

    1. YOU are going to be the most incredible, insightful and fabulous grandmother. Can’t wait for you to show this little boy the ways of the world! We are so grateful for you Lea – xoxo

  3. What a truly beautiful tribute to your Grammy. It sounds like she lived a full life and was blessed with a beautiful family and experiences. I’m sorry for your loss.


  4. This just made my day! One of my favorite things that my grandmother did (and that I strive to do now) was to do a good deed every day…and she really did it. As she got older, sometimes that meant something as simple as making a phone call, but she always did her good deed. Thank you so much for sharing this post! I love it!

    1. I LOVE this. If only we were all like that! Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story, Maggie!

  5. Definitely teared up reading this. I am so sorry for your loss, but she sounds like an incredible woman who lived a wonderful life.

    Thinking about you and your family!

  6. What a beautiful post honoring such a precious lady. I loved the priest’s words at her funeral referring to her as a “wounded servant”–she turned her life sorrows into service to others . It was her joy to give of herself quietly to her family and friends. We shared so much together and I hope some of her qualitities will be carried forth in my life. I never saw our age difference throughout our times together –I just saw the best friend I’ve ever had and thank the Lord for this blessing?

    1. We are just so thankful for YOU Aunt Cathy! Grammy was so lucky to have you in her life and she knew it. XOXO

  7. This is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the light your grandmother had on this earth! I obviously didn’t know her but know women like her, and they’re joyful lights shine on even when they are with our Heavenly Father. I’m sure she’s more than proud of the woman you’ve become and influence through social media. So sorry for your loss, praying for comfort.

    1. What a sweet thing to say, Lindsay. Thank you so much. Here’s to women like her. 🙂

  8. I love this post. Such a tribute, Kat! I don’t think I realized until just now how much all the Williams’ ladies favor Grammy. Beauty spanning generation after generation—And I mean that to include both outer and inner beauty! And what strength… I think that’s what really brought on the tears here. She had gumption and I’m grateful she passed it along to all of you. It’s a trait I admire of your whole family! All my love to each of you!!

    1. You, my friend, are one special special lady yourself. What a kind thing to share and I am so grateful for strong women and friends like YOU! What can I say? I surround myself with some pretty incredible women. xoxox

  9. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Grammy, Kathleen. Losing my Granny was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through so I can only imagine what you’re feeling! Grammy and Granny sound like they have a lot in common, and were/are the kind of women that we all strive to be! Cheers to them! Sending you so much love!

    1. Amen to that. Strong women – may we know them, be them and raise them. Cheers to you and the memory of your fabulous Granny. XOXO

  10. Omg Christian’s letter! Crying no shame what a good example of all a husband should be lady -my grandmother was my favorite person and role model as well thankyou for sharing this such good advice to keep tightly !

    1. That is so incredibly kind – thank you so much for saying that! xoxo

  11. Bawling! What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman! My grandma also will be 90 this year and she was also the only Grandma I really got to know. What a special relationship you had with yours. I call my Grandma every Monday and we catch up…I will cherish those conversations as long as I can! I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

    1. Ok this makes ME tear up because my Grammy and I also had weekly catch up calls! Please do cherish those conversations (and voicemails). What a special lady!

  12. What an elegant tribute Kathleen as was the eulogy you beautifuly delivered at her funeral mass. Family is not just a blood relationship, it’s one you invest in with love and you most certainly did that with the last twelve years of your weekly phone calls to Grammy that she loved so much. I have always known I was one very lucky daughter to have her for a mother. I too learned so much from her. A few of the many – to be faithful to God and family, to be quick to forgive, to always chose joy and to not be afraid to show love to others. Her truest beauty was revealed from the inside out and yours does as well sweet daughter. Grammy was so proud of you and I am as well. She quietly led by example and was a true definition of a virtuous woman. Proverbs 31:10-31 (except for the sewing part! :))

    Love you much,

  13. What a beautiful celebration of your grandmother! I share a similar love and affection for my Muga. One of 16 children she carved out her own path. In her 20s she had a career, traveled, and didn’t marry until the age of 30, waiting for the right man. As a single woman, she ran the finances for the family business, traveled (even catching Lou Gehrig’s farewell address) and bought the first car in our town after the war — all as a single lady! She set aside money every month for each grandchild’s college education and lived independently until the age of 90. She made lunch for my sisters and me every day, while still maintaining her own existence and community. She was generous with her time, thoughts, and extensive Rummy strategy.

    Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on her today.

    1. What a #BOSS this Muga was! I love this – how amazing to have such a strong female role model in your life. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Such a touching post and gorgeous photos. I am also very close to my Grammy and admire the amazing life she has created for herself while still giving so much to others. My Grammy has taught me how to be a lady under pressure, the value of surrounding yourself with genuine girlfriends, and rewarding yourself with a piece of chocolate everyday!

  15. What a sweet and touching tribute! Grandmothers are the best and I miss mine very much. It’s SO fun though watching my mom be a grandmother to my niece and nephew! I was very close to her mom (also from Greenwood! Delta shoutout ?) and got her travel bug, learned the necessity of Burberry outerwear- I even have her trench, and the importance of making others feel welcome…even if you are the one who feels out of place. Thanks for sharing your favorite things about your grandmom, even though I’m all teary now.

  16. I loved reading this personal story about you and your grandmother! I, thankfully, still have both of my grandmothers but my great grandmother passed away when I was 13. She only had a 3rd grade education because she had to take care of her siblings so young. But she was determined that her children and future generations would have greater opportunities. Every single one of us has graduated from college, some with Masters, PhDs, and MDs. I’m so inspired by her selflessness and her determination to give everything she had to her family. She could be a tough little lady, but she loved the lord… and spoiling me!! Great Memories!

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss. This a beautifully written post to honor your grandmother, and I am thankful you shared it with us. I lost my grandmother six years ago, and her values still hold true to my heart. My best compliment that I have been given is that I have her qualities. It always puts smile on my face. Enjoy those memories you have with her and never forget the lessons she taught you in life!

  18. What a beautiful tribute to your Grammy. I love hearing about humble strong women. Thank you for sharing. I am now off to Bevmo to pick up some Scotch! xoxox

  19. The bond that grandparents share with their grandchildren is a very special one! My granny passed away 2 years ago and I feel the void that her passing left behind everyday.She taught me the importance of being fair, honest, kind and be the best version of yourself everyday.Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Love that – so wonderful that you knew her long enough to learn these valuable things. So special!

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. I recently lost two grandparents in the past few years and know how painful it is. My grandfather was the first to pass and he was the only grandfather I ever had. He taught me to always be patient, kind, and to continue learning whether it is in school or through travel. He also taught me the importance of family.

  21. I am so sorry for your loss! My heart completely goes out to you. I think it is absolutely beautiful how you described your grandmother as your own inspiration. I adore my grandma and know I get my sass, determination and laugh from her. I feel incredibly blessed to have her. It’s beautiful to learn so many life lessons from a completely different generation of strong, intelligent and beautiful women.

  22. I love love your post. You see I didnt know my only grandmother very well BUT I am now a grandmother and want my granddaughter to think the world of me like you do your grandmother. I too am a follower of Jesus so I take my instagram account and write to her about the Lord and moments that she and I have shared. She is (she only 14 months old but I hope she cherishes these writings. I pray she and I have that special relationship. I am sorry for your loss. Hebrews 6: 19-20

    1. Wow – I can already tell you will be such an amazing example to her!

  23. Beautiful tribute to your Grammy. She touched my life in a very positive way. All of us who loved Pat and were graced with her friendship will forever have wonderful memories that we hold dear in our hearts.
    Gail Johnson

  24. Beautiful blog post. It made me cry. (I was a pledge class above your sister and I’m also from the Golden Triangle. I’m so glad to see you doing so well and have such success!)

    My grandmother always asked if I was really happy. As I was entering the working world, no one else stopped and asked me if my job and my life was making me happy–least of all me. I now ask myself on a regular basis if I’m really happy. Through that one question and her example, she taught me what really matters in life.

    1. Aw thank you Amy! I love that – what an AMAZING thing to have learned from her. At the end of the day, happiness and faith is all you’ve got. Beautiful story – thank you for sharing!

  25. Such a beautiful post! Sorry for your loss of such an incredible woman. I am blessed to still have both of my grandmothers. My maternal granny just turned 95 in March, and she still flirts with cute Dr.’s when she has checkups. ? When I asked her how old she was this year she said “5… I forget what number goes in front of that!” My paternal granny is a born and raised farm girl. She is a firecracker, very opinionated, and so funny. She still gets out and tends to her vegetable garden! Both lost their husbands far too early. One grandfather died before I was born and the other while I was in junior high. They have definitely showed me how to be strong and independent. Thank God for family!

  26. what a beautiful piece of remembrance and lessons from Grammy. I only met her a few times but I can look at you, your sister, and mom and see so much of her in y’all.
    have fun at the beach.

  27. You have always been one of my very favorite bloggers, and I never usually comment but this post was so amazing! You crack me up daily on snapchat and I love your style but this post in particular made me admire you so much. Your grandmother sounds like such a beautiful soul!!

    1. Oh wow – what an incredibly kind thing to say Jackie. Truly it means so much to me. I appreciate you! XOXO

  28. i’m so sorry for your loss. i have a similar relationship with my grandfather & he’s such a piece of me that it’s hard to put into words. one of my favorite lessons: “there is no such thing as a man’s work & a woman’s work…work is work”…he told this to my now husband right after we got engaged & told him to be sure to wash the dishes if they needed to be washed! thinking of you & your family. xx

    1. What an incredible man ahead of his time!! Love hearing this – thank you so much for sharing. XOXO

  29. You have written a most deserving tribute to your Grammy. I pray that one day one of my five granddaughters will do the same. Your Grandmother will be missed by many but especially by Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Madonna Circle. You and your family will be in my prayers. God Bless.
    Vicki Pittman

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words – it means so much to hear you loved her like we did, and I know she loved her church more than anything!

  30. What a lovely tribute to your beloved Grammy! Your story reminds me of my relationship with my grandmother, who also taught me so many important things about life. Although she passed away a few years ago, I find myself thinking of her often – certain flowers bring back memories of helping her in the garden, weekend breakfasts remind me of the poached eggs and homemade biscuits she made, and I’m always reminded of what a talented seamstress she was when I browse Pinterest or fashion blogs. She taught me how to sew when I was 5 and it was a hobby that we shared for many years together. Grandmothers can be such powerful role models can’t they? I wouldn’t trade my loving relationship with min for the world! Sounds like you feel the same way about yours ???

    1. She sounds like one incredible lady. I wish she could teach me to sew! What gift (among many). Love hearing this story – thank you so much for sharing!

  31. You nailed it, Kat! Your grandmother was such a special woman not only to her family but to those of us who only saw her a few times. She always had a smile on her face . . . even in the hospital! She was the epitome of a gracious Southern woman. It warms my heart that you cherish what she gave . . . and you are paying it forward. So sorry for such a devastating loss, but what a fun and positive angel heaven has gained! May she Rest In Peace. Blessings to you and your family.

    1. Our entire family just adores you Mrs. Crowell. Thank you for always being so supportive and kind! Thank you so much for being you – one fabulous lady! XOXO

  32. Kathleen – that was a very special and moving tribute to Pat. She was a remarkable lady and a lot of things you told about her – I had no idea. Ask your Mom about a funny story she told her(Karen) about my mom and babysitting. She called last year when I think maybe she was helping Anna and Patrick babysit because Edie was not doing well. It was really special to hear that story – lots of sentimentality to those of us that grew up in Greenwood.
    Be proud of all of her teachings – they were right on track. And, no one would ever say that she was not a smart “Lady.” I know you will miss her but she is back with Edie, A.G. and Al – all very special themselves.

    1. I love this. She was quite a special lady to us. Thank you so much for sharing!

  33. This was so beautiful! It sounds like you had an amazing grandmother who left a mark on so many people. The fact that were able to share this with even more people is so special. Sending prayers to your family <3

  34. Sitting here in my cubicle with tears streaming down my face! Grammy sounds like a very special lady! My Grandma was the same way! I always have said my Grandmother was the true Proverbs 31 woman! Sounds like Grammy was too! I am so sorry for your loss. Praying your precious sweet memories help ease some of your sadness right now. PS. C is a keeper!

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