A Texas grandmother in a hospice spent one last day fulfilling one last wish – to vote 82 for the first time.
Just four days after she had her first ballot, Gracie Lou Phillips died sleeping in her home in Grand Prairie, Texas, near her family. Although she had not chosen before, TIME, her granddaughter Leslie Moore, said she appreciated the vote very much.
"She believes everyone has a voice and their political opinions should be heard," says Moore.
Phillips has not voted in the past because of her responsibility to her family, says Moore. Phillips married at the age of 15 and was the mother of seven children. Her husband, who died eleven years ago, was concerned that if the couple registered for election, they could be called to jury membership. He feared the family could not afford to miss work and that she would not be able to take care of her children, Moore says.
Although she had never voted, Moore says her grandmother always loved looking at the news and research candidates.
As Phillip's health worsened in the months leading up to her death, she was more focused on voting. She enrolled during a hospital stay a few weeks ago and was given home hospice treatment two weeks ago.
Nevertheless, she was able to fulfill her last wish with some support last Thursday. Moore says Phillips daughter Terri Griffith helped Phillips and all her medical equipment get into a car. As soon as Phillips reached the polling station, the survey staff were there to help. They covered the windows of the vehicle and brought Phillips her first ballot.
Phillips wrote on Facebook last Thursday that she was thrilled for the first time.
"This year is a very important election year, a voice can make a difference. 82 years and FIRST time to choose. Lost my husband 11 years ago. This grandma chooses the most important race there is !! MY PRESIDENT … STAY STRONG SIR, I AM FOR YOU !!! "
Moore tells TIME that she often does not agree with her grandmother about politics, but said that her grandmother always appreciated having open conversations with other people.
"She was not interested in one way or the other as long as you chose," says Moore.
Moore adds that her grandmother was a "great role model and a wonderful person".
"If my grandmother, who was 82 years old, could go and vote in the hospice and on oxygen, everyone else has no excuse not to do so."