My grandmother has always been one of the most important people in my world. She is such a strong presence in my life and I find myself thinking about her often and what she would do when I make decisions.
As of today, she has been gone for half of my life.
This has always been my favorite picture of her, with her sister at my parents' wedding.
I had a turbulent childhood. My grandmother was always the person that loved me unconditionally. I went to her when I needed a hug, I went to her when I needed love, and I went to her when I needed reassurance. She was in my corner and I never doubted her love and devotion. She was a straight-shooter and didn’t always tell me what I wanted to hear, but did so with honesty and and as much sensitivity as she could muster.
When she died, I was only 21 and didn’t begin to realize the impact her loss would have on me. My heart broke into pieces and I went through my days, but it took me five years to be able to talk about her without bursting into tears and probably ten before I could think of her and smile without any shedding any tears. Though I do tear up occasionally and still feel such a hole in my life. I think of her almost every single day.
It took a long time for me to realize just how special our relationship was, and when I realized, I was so upset that I didn’t recognize it or appreciate it when she was here.
Did I ever thank her? Did I ever tell her I realized and noticed and how much it mean to me?
No. I was a child. I had no understanding that someday she may not be here. Until she wasn’t.
That kind of love is special, and I cherish it now, always holding it close. And while not every relationship that I have will be that special, I do know what a good relationship is as I’ve had one before, and I do know what doesn’t work for me.
Brene Brown, in her Ted talks and her books shares her mental breakdown spiritual awakening. I adore her for her openness and public vulnerability. Who the hell says that? I respect her for it and think she’s amazing.
When I was a child, I had to be tough to survive the environment. I couldn’t show weakness or it would get me hurt. Vulnerability was a foreign concept and to me, synonamous with weakness. I didn’t cry in front of people and I didn’t express much emotion as anything could be taken away.
But when it came to grandmom, I always had faith in her and her love for me as I knew she’d be there. Nothing could shake that feeling.
Now, I’m learning that it’s ok to wear my heart on my sleeve. And I’ll attract like-minded people for it. I’m learning to love my gentle heart instead of trying to hide it. I don’t hesitate to say “I love you” to the people that I love, as I want to be sure they know in case there’s a time when they are no longer with me.
I love you, Grandmom. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful gift of your love that I still feel, all these years later. You meant the world to me and always will.
I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck. Always.