Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Grandmother's Love


Obama is hugged by his grandmother, Madelyn
Dunham, at his high school graduation in 1979.

Obama Loses His "Toots"
By Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News Columnist

Maybe I've gotten too caught up in the lives of the players on the political stage lately. It's hard not to, given the internet and 24-hour news cycle, as well as all the twists and turns of the presidential campaign. But, I see incredible symbolism in the passing of Senator Barack Obama's grandmother a day before the election. I'd been one of those people rooting for Madelyn Dunham to hang on so she could, hopefully, see her grandson make history by being elected the 44th president of the United States. Hang on, "Toots". We're almost there, I'd think whenever there was a news report on her condition.

Ever so often, you hear of people on the edge of death who somehow manage to put off dying until Christmas has passed or perhaps, until a loved one arrives at their bedside. But Dunham, Obama's beloved "Toots", died in her sleep late on Sunday, November 2nd with Obama's half- sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, by her side. Perhaps Dunham figured that was as good a time as any to go. After all, when Obama stopped campaigning for a few days to visit the 86 year old in Hawaii last month, they probably said their goodbyes. She'd already shared all the wisdom she had to bestow upon Obama, whom she helped raise from birth until he left home for college. Dunham had voted for her grandson already via absentee ballot (and yes, it still counts).

Whether Obama won or lost, "Toots" had done her job. One can only imagine what she thought of how things have gone for her history-making grandson. Dunham hasn't given an interview for several years. Obama credits her with teaching him about hard work and with instilling in him strong values. Not only did she rise from being a secretary to becoming one of the first female bank vice-presidents in Hawaii, but the Kansas native had been a white woman raising a brown boy despite what had to have been incredible social pressure.

Although his Kenyan-born father abandoned him, Dunham apparently didn't teach Obama to hate him. Instead, she helped Obama figure out his place in the world and to learn that skin color was irrelevant, regardless of how he might be treated. You get that from hearing Obama talk about her or from reading his memoir, "Dreams of My Father"...

"She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America. They're not famous. Their names aren't in the newspapers," Obama said earlier this week about her. "But each and every day they work hard. They look after their families. They sacrifice for their children and their grandchildren. They aren't seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing."

Apparently, she succeeded. Then, it was time for her to leave her grandson to his destiny.

The article and photo above appeared in the Philadelphia
Daily News on Wednesday, November 5, 2008.

I love your blog. Winnie the Pooh is my favorite. I feel like Eeyore sometimes, lonely and grumpy. Pessimistic. I like your writing about Obama. I will be back to read more. cool.

check me out sometime.
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