By Stacy Smith

Seventy years later, Pamela Groves still holds up her mother for admiration and inspiration.

“My mother, Geneva Hellums, was one of the smartest women I knew and she kept her witty personality,” said Pamela Groves. “I learned from her that it is very important to give to the less fortunate. When I am outside, I can still hear her whistling as she hangs the clothes on the line to dry.”

A most remarkable event in her life was having her four children. “I still remember the look on each of their faces right after they were born. They all had a twinkle about them and bring me such joy and pure happiness. All of my children have made me proud to be their mother. They are hardworking, dependable and loyal people. Now as adults, when I look at them, I can still see that twinkle and am once again filled with joy and pure happiness. I remember the time I took the children mud riding and cannot help but laugh thinking about their smiling faces. They could not believe that I allowed them to be so dirty.”

Perhaps part of the children’s disbelief that their mother let them get so muddy is that Ms. Groves ran a cleaning business. It’s an example of her always choosing to be cheerful. A personality trait that helped her transition to life in a skilled nursing care center.

Before moving to Cottage of the Shoals more than a year ago, she lived alone in an apartment. Moving into the nursing home helped her realize she wanted and needed a connection with others who are going through similar issues.

“Cottage of the Shoals has helped me realize that I may have an actual productive and enjoyable life,” said Ms. Groves.

She now serves on several committees, plays in a Rook card club, has several lunch dates and has developed a routine that includes several friends. Her favorite activities are playing bingo and Cottage Auction.

“I love being an ambassador of the Cottage of the Shoals,” said Ms. Groves. “I feel that God has given me the passion and words to help rid other residents of their fears of being in the nursing home on a long-term basis. I like to tell my friends that this facility is their future and not the end.”

“One of the first things I noticed about Ms. Groves is the size of her heart,” said Johnna Roland, Activity Director at Cottage of the Shoals. “She makes sure that everyone is being cared for. She is an encourager and prays with her peers and cheers them on to their next victory.”

At 70 years old, Ms. Groves was diagnosed with cancer this past February. She said, “My motto for life is that when I get up today, I will try my best. And, when I wake up tomorrow, I will try harder!”

You can leave words of encouragement in the comments section below or share this article on Facebook to show your support.

For more information about the pageant, click here.

Editor’s note: This is the second story in a 10-part series about the finalists for the 2016 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 13, we’ll post a story about Ms. Crowne Health Care of Eufaula Evie Roberts.

Stacy Smith, APR, is a freelance writer based in Birmingham, Alabama.