An Ode to my Grandma

Monday, January 16, 2017

My late maternal grandmother was born in 1922, just two years after women acquired the right to vote in America.  I may have witnessed the transition from the days of AIM to iMessage, but she was present for a much more drastic shift.  Whenever I was stressed or anxious about an event, obligation, or interaction, she calmed me down.  Her dominant personality traits were intellect, charisma, and verve, and she had a quiet wisdom about her that grew more pronounced in her later years.  I knew, after all that she had lived through from great personal loss to traumatic world events, that her advice was well worth absorbing.

The world of my grandmother's youth is storied and epic; it feels like fiction.  Hearing her speak of her twenties always made me day dream about the beauty of the clothes, the cat eyed sunglasses, and the deep uncertainty of World War II.  She was raised during the Depression and soon after she graduated from high school, our country was at war.   My grandfather was in the army: he served as a Master Drill Sergeant and was an engineer in communications in the Pentagon.  When the war came, they broke up temporarily.  As my grandma came of age, the world she had grown used to shifted once again dramatically into wartime mode.  Still, she carried on, eating watermelon with her friends on the beach, going to work, and feeling grateful.  She was the secretary to the vice president of a division of Dun and Bradstreet.  ...Can you tell I'm proud of her?

She never pushed.  She was incredibly resilient and had an iron will (that I would sometimes test...and would sometimes test me), but whether or not she practiced what she preached in this realm, she taught me not to force my way in order to incite action, but rather to accept what life brought me, be grateful (never bitter), and to finesse my way.  When I was upset about certain world events last year, I turned to her for help.  She pet my head and soothed me with her words.  "You just have to go on...this too shall pass," she'd say.  I reminded myself to let go of what is not in my control and to do what I can to be at peace internally and to show kindness, not only to others but also to me!  I had learned how to comfort myself when I was little, and this reminded me to call upon that.  Ultimately, she (and my mom) admonished not to dwell on the negative happenings, but to instead expand positivity (without ignoring reality and making smart and safe decisions, etc.).  She passed away in November and I miss her greatly.  She was fun and funny and I'm thankful for the time we spent together.  Always happy for the time I get to spend with relatives and friends...

© Wild Hearted 2016.

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