Olive Bates Tatman was a teacher and a mother, no matter who she interacted with. Her students at school looked to her as a surrogate mother figure -- some literally, as they'd come and stay with her when there were family problems in their own homes; one, my Uncle Ron, is still considered part of the family. Her own three children (of whom she outlived one, my Uncle Bob), and her own three children-in-laws (of whom she outlived one, my Uncle Gordon), and her two grandchildren (my brother and I) all looked to her as a teacher.
Her most important lessons were given not through lectures or in classrooms, but in how she lived her life. She firmly believed that the best way to make the world better was not to tilt alone at societal windmills, to try and be a hero or a martyr...but to try and quietly, individually, make every life she touched better. I can only hope that someday, I will have positively touched even half as many lives as she has.
I know she's in a better place now, though. I know that my grandfather, Thomas Cooper Tatman ('Cooper' to everyone, because he hated the name Tommy or Thomas), has been waiting patiently for her for these past seven years, and that now they're with each other again. I know the pain that she's suffered through over the past year is at an end. I know that in almost every way, this is a good thing. She had a long, full life... longer than many, being 86 years old.
So why does it feel like my heart is torn in two?
Godspeed, gramma. I know granpa's glad to see you again.