Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Superhero: Julia

Earlier this week I lamented on how our society rewards bad behavior with publicity while people who do good things go unrecognized (Catch up here).  At the end of that blog I challenged my readers to become the change they wanted to see.  I later realized I had a venue (this blog) to recognize people who do good things for others.  Therefore, going forward I am going to feature a "Superhero" each Sunday.  If you know someone who does good things for others, please let me know so I can feature him or her.

This week I decided to pick a "Superhero" from my own life.  This week's "Superhero" is named Julia.  I've known Julia for about 30 years now (and I'm 34).  Julia and my mother worked for the same factory many years ago.  As fate would have it, Julia and my mother had their boys on the same day.  Having boys that share a birthday has kept Julia and my mom connected over the years.  Even after we moved from Nebraska, I remember my mom checking in with Julia when we went back for visits.

In 2003, my Grandma Mizell was diagnosed with cancer.  While this diagnosis was hard for the entire family, it was really hard on my mother (Mary).  Mom was in New York and Grandma was in Nebraska.  Initially, Mom spent some time in Nebraska.  Then she got Grandma talked into going to New York.  Grandma spent the winter in New York, but wanted to return home in the spring.

During a visit to Nebraska, my mother and Julia had lunch.  Julia looked at my mom and asked if there was anything she could do to help with Grandma.  Julia volunteered to pick up grocery items and run them right over if Grandma ran out. She made Thursday night popcorn & movie night (Julia popped the corn and brought some movie selections; she also brought her DVD player and hooked it up to Grandma's TV. This was after she had already put in a full day at the office.)  This gave Grandma something to look forward to each week.  Julia also knew my grandma's fondness for sparkly objects and would bring her a pen or a decorative item that sparkled.

Julia drove Grandma to doctors' appointments and stayed with her during visits. Grandma needed more help getting around (she had a cane) so this meant extra work for Julia, as she would get a wheelchair for Grandma.  Julia never asked for a dime. She encouraged Grandma to have her cataracts removed. Grandma was very concerned, as she had experienced a hip surgery that did not go well.  Julia was with Grandma every step of the way and Grandma could see much better after the surgery.

Julia was so much help to my grandmother that it was a running joke in the family that she was Grandma's "other Mary".  In fact, it was with Julia's help we were able to pull off a surprise 88th birthday party for my grandmother.  Julia told Grandma that she was going to take her out to eat for her birthday.  Julia just didn't tell her it was out to the common room in her apartments.  It was the best surprise ever!  We could hear Grandma tell Julia there must be something going on out in the common room.  Grandma kept walking by until she realized that all the people sitting there were people she knew!  She had the best look on her face!  Julia also arranged to have the surprise party filmed so we could enjoy the party again and again!

Grandma's Surprised Look with Julia by Her Side

During Grandma's last week on earth, it was Julia that stayed with Mom.  Julia slept in the small room with my mom a night or two.  Julia didn't want Mom to be alone in case Grandma went home (Heaven for those of you who may not use that term) during the night. Julia slept in a recliner which was no easy task when you consider it was after a full day's work.  Julia was standing by my grandma's bed, with the family, as Grandma went home.

Julia, Grandma, and Mary (Mom)

My family can never repay the kindness Julia showed my grandmother during her last few years on earth.  Julia adopted Grandma and treated her like she was her own mother.  Julia is one of our country's unsung "Superheros".  Julia, thank you for being the change we want to see!

Until Tomorrow - Melissa


  1. Awww such a heart touching story, and kudos to Julia for always being there, a hero indeed!