This was the request I was given, but as I wrote the first entry, I realized that she deserved this entire list to herself
  1. Fay Rogers
  2. Known by me and my million cousins as Grandma Fay
  3. My Grandma is the strongest woman I know.
  4. Scratch that, she's the strongest person I know period.
  5. She's had it rough over the years.
  6. Her father ran out on their family when she was just a little girl.
    My Granny actually ended up divorcing him, which was very scandalous in the Catholic community at that time. She never remarried because of this. Granny was a strong woman too.
  7. She lost all sight in her right eye when she was 12.
    The doctors had no idea how it happened. They still don't. She's spent the rest of her life wondering how long it'll be until the other one clonks out.
  8. When she and my Grandpa Al first got married, the doctors said he would never have kids.
  9. To hear her tell it though, Grandpa Al didn't like being told what he could and couldn't do.
  10. So she ended up having eleven children.
    "I just couldn't keep your grandpa off me," she said once as she told this story. My brother and I were about 8 and 11 at the time
  11. They never had much money, but they always made it through.
  12. Everything changed when her son, Patrick, killed himself.
    No one ever really found out why. He was a senior in high school. The unanswered questions this left haunts her still, and she has a hard time talking about him.
  13. And Grandpa Al got cancer.
    He was a smoker all his life, and lost his voice box as a result. He had one of those talkers, the kind that makes you sound like a robot. He used to let kids at sporting events use it so they could sound like robots too.
  14. She remained a solid rock.
  15. Grandpa's cancer went away.
  16. He went out ice-fishing the next week to celebrate.
  17. But someone was illegally air-rating the lake.
  18. This made the ice thinner than it should've been.
  19. His truck went through the ice.
  20. He drowned that day, and my Grandma lost the love of her life.
  21. She was rocked and rattled, but she stayed strong.
  22. Now, she plays the lone enforcer in my extended family.
  23. Her children are often at each other's throats for one reason or another.
  24. She remains neutral through it all.
  25. She is fair
  26. Kind
  27. And lets all of her kids know that she isn't taking their crap.
  28. She'll never choose a side, even if she has an opinion.
  29. Grandma Fay has had it rough.
  30. But she will never tell you that.
  31. She'll never complain.
  32. She doesn't ask why she has to deal with all of this crap.
  33. She takes everything in stride.
  34. She's found a way to be happy even when she has every reason not to be.
  35. And I love her for that.