This essay is a personal reflection and a contribution to Tara Sophia Mohr’s 2103 Grandmother Power Blogging Campaign.
I would not have known myself capable of writing a tribute to my grandmother. I think of who she is now–twenty-two years after my grandfathers death–and my mind cannot remember who she used to be. So, I breathe into it, and my heart opens to share this with you.
For perspective, my paternal grandmother is about to turn 90 next month. She lives a country away, in an assisted living senior home. Although the family she holds near and dear has moved to various locations around the country, and we have each issued invitations to her to re-locate, she refuses to leave because my grandfathers grave is right there, near her. Even now, she sacrifices her own comfort to be there for him. And I learn from all that she reflects.
The Energy of Love
When my grandfather passed away 22-years ago, my grandmother sat in a chair for 48- hours.
I think her entire being was in shock, from his unexpected passing and from the reality of gambling debt he incurred. In one moment, she lost everything that was dear and familiar to her.
I watched as this once joy-filled woman who loved to host lavish dinner parties and laugh and sing, chose to release it all. I felt her pain and observed the immediate deflation of her spirit. Her physical illness manifested to extremes that would limit her movements and her conversation shrunk to only include all that was.
My reaction was to promise myself that I would never, in my life ever, love someone as much as she loved my grandfather, because I would never, in my life ever, wish to experience the kind of pain she was in.
My creation was to acknowledge and appreciate her reflection of steadfast love and devotion and allow myself to feel it in every area of life…to infuse my connections and creations and move me into new spaces in all realms.
I thoroughly enjoy the energy of love–I cultivate, create, and celebrate it with purpose and intent and I only know that depth and range of love is possible because my grandmother so graciously modeled it for me.
I only see this now, as I share this with you…thank you for the gift of sharing!
The Energy of Food
I had nineteen years with my grandmother before my grandfather died–she was the woman who encouraged me to be the light in the room, while the rest of my family quietly asked me to dim it.
To share the essence of my grandmother requires a gentle stretch beyond this knot in my heart, into memories from a childhood in which my grandmother’s home was my favorite place to be.
When you opened the door to her home, you would be met with the aroma of one of your favorite foods. If there were multiple people visiting, that meant a buffet of delectable treats.
The formal dining room table would be set with china, crystal glasses, linen napkins, and silver. Candle-light was a requirement.
These meals would last an entire day. The adults would drink wine or champagne, the children always had virgin cocktails with cherries. There were board games, magic tricks, jokes, stories that went on for ages, singing, laughter.
The love and connection was palpable.
My grandmother used the energy of food to heal hearts.
I have always understood this was how she showed, and shared her love, and my table is quite similar. While my approach is very informal, your favorite foods will be served, with love and gratitude. Your presence is appreciated, and you know that from the way your food is prepared and served and the conversation is compelling and custom to you. In those moments you feel seen and adored, the experience nourishes and enlivens.
I originally shared these skills through my own catering company. That catering company evolved into Facets of Joy–this site that is my new “table”.
The Energy of Faith
My grandmother is a devout Catholic. She loves the ritual within the practice–beginning each day and ending each evening with prayer, lighting candles and praying the rosary with intention. She prays for self, others, world. She prays regardless of external.
She recognizes holy days, saints days. She invokes the support of angels. She attended mass daily until she was unable to physically attend.
If something is “wrong” she prays. If something is “right” she prays.
She fully believes there isn’t a reason to be upset with God; He plans and guides with love, and it is our job to trust fully, even if external feels less than optimal. Her faith is unwavering.
My grandmother saw the best in people, even when they (or others) could not. She opened her home to share with everyone, even those whom were ostracized, criticized, or misunderstood. She didn’t ask why they chose a certain path, she simply ministered to their immediate needs.
I don’t believe she knew how to put conditions upon love, and I am certain forgiveness was a natural overflowing of that love, not something she thought about or purposely practiced, just simply extended as she loved.
(I write that in past tense, because after my grandfather’s passing, this natural overflowing compassion transformed a bit.)
Her unconditional love felt fresh and radical, especially within our community, because there were many who were judgmental, sarcastic and critical.
The Energy of Joy
Only as I write this today, can I stretch into this understanding: I might have seen her heart-break, and her subsequent choices constrict her joy, but what I experienced before then influenced who I am today.
And, she might not understand the specifics of my energy work, but she planted the seeds that invited me to center into practices of presence to unfolding within organic growth, faith and trust, to be love and share gratitude, the foundation of my life as I continue becoming Joy.
Respect for Elders
I do know that when I visit her in her home, there are many elders who are “stuck away and forgotten”.
Women, and men, whom contributed their beings to live fully, and now feel discarded.
When I walk in with a smile and a hello, their world brightens. When I take the time to sit and listen to one of the many stories they each have to tell, I learn. I don’t always know the ‘lesson’ in the moment I am listening, but I absorb the feel of the message and it later affirms something I had been questioning or invites exploration into new space.
Sometimes, my grandmother repeats the same story over and over. I used to feel anything but grateful.
Now I realize each time she shares the experience, it brings her joy to relive the memory, and it gives me an opportunity to lean in to depth and range of the feel and the seeds of love continue to blossom to heal her heart and bless my own.
Thank you for receiving my gentle stretch and celebrating this reflection of love!
To contribute your own reflection and/or to read other reflections, please click this link: The Grandmother Power Blogging Campaign.
I would love for you to share a Grandmother Power memory in the comment section below. May you share a special memory with– or lesson from– your grandmother and/or if you are a grandmother, a special memory or lesson you experienced with your grandchildren.
Much peace and abundant love,
Reminder: Unravel. Unfurl. Unfold.