When I visited my last remaining grandparent this summer, she asked if I knew she turned 100. “Yes,” I said, speaking loudly so she could hear, “that’s so great!” “No, not really,” she replied quietly. “I’m tired, Jon. I’m ready.”
A sad moment, but I understood. Elma Aliina Teppo was born a month after Charlie Chaplin’s film debut. Three months before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. She survived both world wars and a cold war, the Great Depression and several not-so-great ones. Two spouses, five kids and countless grandkids. A life well lived. But her friends and siblings had been gone for several years. It had been a century of goodbyes, and she was ready.