What you need to know about Vivan Mae

Vivian Mae — © Roxanne Vise
Hooray, hooray, it’s the first of May… outdoor screwin’ starts today!

This is my Grandma’s favorite thing to say on May 1st, May Day. Little quips that surprise, delight and make you laugh out loud! It’s so appropriate that her middle name is also Mae.

Names often seem random and don’t fit the person just right, but with a first name like Vivian, which means vibrant and full of life, and a middle name like Mae, all flowers and springtime, her name — it barely contains her.

And it couldn’t after all.

It’s the first of May, Vivian Mae… how appropriate that you’ve passed away today.

Like a rare performer that causes the crowd to hold it’s breath, her dance of life held a composite of deep pain and bounding joy.

Joy in the small things. Not passive joy, but exuberant and purposeful.

In The Garden — © Roxanne Vise

The neighbor who drops by unannounced, became an instant party. A sunny day - a reason to dig in the dirt, turn the mattress or pull out the stove for a good scrub. Chores were playful — and play? Play was epic.

Born in the 1920’s in Michigan, she was grande dame of her town and stories always made it to her ears. The wisdom that poured out of her held more grit than granny. Forged through hardship and happiness. She was last of six, a line from Wales, Ireland and England. She wasn’t the youngest, but the strongest.

Orphaned young, she weathered foster care, sibling tragedies and outlived two of her three children. The last lies bound from a failed attempt to leave life.

The struggles that come in life often make no logical sense. Rather than unfair, the experiences are essential to mold and form the container for joy and all the rest.

How could you know pure joy without understanding pain?

How can you choose joy unless you understand what you’re choosing?

True Love — © Roxanne Vise

My Grandmother, Vivian Mae, chose exuberant, purposeful joy. Climbing stars and doing exercises to the last of 95 years. She outlived two husbands and a boyfriend and left six grandkids. To me she gave the optimist gene and her natural instinct for joy, but my heart aches to see her go.

Knowing that the joy will always come in again is the truth of hope that Emily Dickinson wrote:

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul — and sings the tunes without the words — and never stops at all.

Even writing this about her opens the floodgates of laughter we’ve shared.

She spread her wings when her body could no longer contain her.

Let her butterfly wings be your ripple.

If you found inspiration in it, please share it to send out that ripple to others.

Thank you for reading this tribute to my Grandmother. This is my first post on Medium and it had to be about her. I was her Rock and she mine.

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