I’ve devoted a lot of attention on Live and Let’s Fly to the late Queen Elizabeth II over the last week, but today want to dedicate this space to my own grandmother, Margaret, who recently passed and must be given great credit for my love of travel.
Thanksgiving For My Grandmother
Although her funeral date was set before the Queen passed away, today will mark not only the funeral service of EIIR but also of my dear grandma. As I look back on her life, I am grateful for her amazing generosity and sacrifice in giving so much of herself to her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
When I look back on my life and trace the path that led to today, I must give great credit to my grandmother for awakening in me a deep love of travel, that has transformed my life in ways that I could not have imagined.
Why am I so loyal to United Airlines? In part, it was because my grandmother took my brother and me on two trips using United Airlines. The first was to North Carolina in 1996. The Boeing 777 had just been delivered to United, the launch customer, and we were booked from Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago (ORD) onboard the 777. I’ll never forget that flight, my first time on a widebody jet. Amazingly for me, there were seatback screens from which I watched Disney cartoons. I was also served a McDonald’s Happy Meal onboard. Can you imagine how thrilling that was for a nine-year-old?
It was nearly a decade later that we flew to North Dakota, where my grandmother had grown up on a farm with no running water or electricity, again on United Airlines. Our 6:00 am flight from LAX to Denver (DEN) was upgauged from a 757-200 to a three-cabin 767-300. I remember angling for an upgrade on the flight (and failing), but it was that flight that inspired me to start learning more about airline loyalty programs and credit card points.
Thus, without ever knowing it or intending it, my grandmother greatly shaped my interests and my work, an important reminder that we never know the impact we might make on one another.
But more than cultivating a love of travel in me, she was a constant pillar of generosity and faithfulness that I look back on now more than ever with immense respect. Her generation, the Queen’s generation, endured hardship in a very different way than we do today. My grandmother was tough and she lived 97 years full of sacrifice and humility.
Two monumental deaths in my life are a reminder that death is inevitable, though one is on a much more personal basis. Both my grandmother and the Queen grew up facing Depression and War. Both served their nation, their families, and their God. Death is the great equalizer: it knocks at the door of every person. But even as I rose at 2:30 am this morning to watch the Queen’s funeral and committal services, the more important service today is for my beloved grandmother, to whom I now bid aloha.
Matt, you have my condolences.
I’m sorry about that, Matthew. As a person who’s also been close with my late grandmother, I understand how big of an impact this is.
That was a wonderful story. Vale Margaret.
My grandmother was Italian and having spent a lot of time in Italy recently I see how a lot of her strange mannerisms are more normal now (wearing shoes in the water in the beach etc).
I assume that’s why you had a strict deadline to return for?
Thanks for sharing
Matt may your grandmothers memory be a blessing.
I’m sorry for your loss, Matt.
When I was younger (now 50s) I was probably like a lot of kids, especially those they were fortunately to avoid tragedies in life, and ignored death, sickness, aging, etc. I recall the typical sayings “old” people would say like “youth is wasted on the young”, “time flies”, etc.
Although I wasted too much of my youth and regret a lot of missed opportunities, I was lucky enough to realize work was only a job (a relative would always say “there is a reason work is a 4-letter word”) and had no interest in doing more than 40 hrs a week and never got into the FIRE school of thought, since I wanted to enjoy my time and I knew it there was no turning back the clock. I enjoyed a variety of vacations, ski trips, Europe trips, etc.
I’m thankful I did that, and wished I did more, since aging catches up to you quickly. Lost a long time friend my age in 2020 and that was painful. My father went downhill unexpectedly (well he was 82) last year and it was my first experience up close with someone in that condition and dealing with a hospice (although only briefly, a week) and seeing him passed away. Mentally sharp but his body just had given up despite not having typical things at that age (no cancer, strokes, heart attacks, ALS, etc.).
Someone told me to visit him as much as I could despite the tears you get, otherwise you’ll regret it the rest of your life and I’m glad I followed their advice. I didn’t do that for my mother which I regret to this day.
Enjoy life, friends and family because it truly does go by too fast, and no matter how much you want, you can’t ever turn back the clock.
Sorry for your loss. I was quite close to my maternal grandparents and also to my uncle. My grandfather passed away when I was in high school. My grandmother many decades ago.
A worthy tribute to a woman who seems to have had significant influence on who you are today.
I too spent a while thinking about my own two grandmothers while watching the funeral rites this week – both coincidentally passed away during this particular calendar week – although 21 and 27 years ago respectively – and I was unable to make it to either funeral (one was my freshman orientation week of college, and the other was right after 9/11 when no international flights were operating). But I am at peace with that because my memories of them remain just as strong.
Cherish the memories and the positive impact she had on you, and seek to have the same positive impact on future generations. That way you will pass on her legacy as well as leaving your own. Some of my happiest times are when my younger cousins ask me questions about our grandmother who they were too young to remember, because I know that my memories are shaping the way they will view her too.
My condolences Matthew on the passing of your grandma. I also loss my grandma earlier this year and by the grace of God she too made it to her 90th decade. You’re right, the good Lord built that generation of females as tough and to endure; we have learned so much from this great generation that we can apply in our generation. May the Lord comfort you as you mourn, and may you find His love, peace, and strength this season of you and your family’s lives. God Bless.
So sorry for your loss Matthew. Thanks for sharing your story about how she inspired your love for travel and loyalty towards United!
Sorry for your loss. Long may the good memories of her live on in your family.
My family too this month lost a 96-year old mother/grandmother/great-grandmother. The lives they lived and the enrichment they provided their loved ones is the reason why we both grieve the loss of such people and celebrate what they meant for us in our lives and will continue to mean after theirs.
Your grandmother was from North Dakota, and so here is an interesting coincidence with North Dakota: a 96 year old woman from North Dakota had been a long-time pen pal of QEII, with whom she has shared a birthday and annual personal birthday wishes for many decades.
Sorry for your loss, Matthew!!
Gottes Segen! Thank you for the wonderful tribute to your grandma.
Sorry for your loss, Matthew.
Very sorry for your loss, Matthew.
Thinking of you and your family. Keep the great moments and memories you had with her.
Condolences for your loss. I’m sure she was–and is–very proud!
A very sad week. I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family. And what was the quote earlier? Something about grief being a measure of love? God bless.
What members of the royal family attended your grandmother’s funeral?
Not appropriate right here.
Your Grandmother sounds like an inspiration. She took you on the trip for other reasons but you saw the light in the 777-200 or 777-200IGW.
I was 6 years old when I flew on my first widebody. I asked my mother “what kind of plane is this”. I got talk to the captain and look at the cockpit before the flight even though we were one of the last aboard, having flown on standby instead of waiting for our scheduled flight. It was on American Airlines but I actually like United more.
So THIS is why you absolutely had to be back. I wondered what was so important it could not be changed. This certainly explains it. Sorry for your loss.
My condolences and prayers to you and your family.
My condolences. Even when people die naturally of old age, the more time we have with them, the harder it is to lose them.
Oh no! sorry bro you have a big loss.
Touching story Matt. Condolences.
Queens death is not monumental. She is inconsequential in your life. Now your need to travel to pay “respect” to the queen makes even less sense to me.
All these passionate, and illogical acts od the public is how the royal family and most sports teams mint money. So gullible and easily manipulated.
My condolences. We are usually closer to our grandparents because they do not have to make tough choices to raise us that our parents do. It’s only nice memories we have of them. But cherish your parents just as much. Amd seems like you still have time to do it.
You won’t know what you have till it’s gone.
My condolences to you, Matthew – I will be praying for you and your family
My condolences, I feel you Matt.
Sorry to hear of your loss, Matthew. My condolences.
Grandparents can leave many wonderful memories to cherish and their wisdom can inspire deep, lifelong interests. It sounds like she did.
I feel your sense of loss and pain, Matthew. I also recently lost my mother and my wife of 36 years, five years ago. Realize that life is a finite cycle over which we have little or no control. How we chose to spend our time on earth is left largely up to ourselves and our level of commitment to those people and ambitions close to our heart. In the end, it will be only memories that define us.
HMQ was a proxy Grandma to so many and yet triggered our mutual recognition of how much our own meant -and what we lost. My own died at 103 last year yet even then we felt she’d be here for ever. Cherish the memories!
SO sorry for your loss. My husband and I lost both our Moms last month-3 days apart. They were 95 and 99 so went threw a lot in their younger -depression years too.
My condolences to you as well. But like the Queen, it sound like she lived a wonderful and eventful life, and was able to see the world. And introduced travel to her children and grandchildren. I understand her loss is hard, but remember how much she lived, and the wonderful memories she created. Her spirit will live with you forever.
Well said Matthew. RIP Grandma Klint.
My condolences Matthew. My your grandmother RIP.
Matthew, I join those above expressing sorrow for the passing of your grandmother. Take comfort in knowing that she is at peace. Happy that you were able to enjoy her time in your life for as long as you did.
I’m delinquent in reading my blog feed, so just seeing this now. My condolences to you and your family for your loss.