I come from two incredible lines of women. Both bring positive and negative elements that live on in and through me as these things do. Even when one has never met a family member it happens that you carry elements of them in you; a look, a temperament, a skill, a feature. On my father's side live some of the most gracious, caring, and loving women. My aunts, cousins, and grandmother all reside in this category, each in their own way has such a heart for people. On my mom's side, which I am less familiar with live my grandmother, mother, aunt, and two great grandmothers who I met when I was less than a year old and who's names I bear. All I know of these women are my grandmother who is slowly leaving and my mother who has lost much of her ability to tell me who they were. I do have my memories of both of them, and my mother's journals.
What I know about them is that they love and feel deeply. My mom choose to take everything into herself and turn her feeling of not being loved outward to make sure everyone else is cared for, this trait I carry. And my grandmother stands like a rock, not allowing many to see her chocolate center. She like me has had to battle and after a while forgot how to stop battling, very few knew or recognized that she was still just a insecure and frightened child inside.
Today was one of those rare moments where I was blessed with the gift of time to sit with my grandmother. My grandfather, her husband of over sixty years is dying of Parkinson's, and she is realizing that very soon she will have to live with out him and she doesn't know how she will be able to do that. For most of our conversation today she was clear and light and engaged. But as I left the shell cracked and I saw my grandmother cry, the second time in my thirty years the first being last august when we thought my grandfather may have just a few weeks to live, and she looked so tiny and scared when she said "I'm loosing him" and I held her not knowing what else I could say or do. As I road down the elevator I realized that I am like my grandmother I stand my ground and hold my Independence like a badge until that one little insignificant thing shatters the rock wall I have built to hold my self in. I remember I didn't cry for three months after my mom's accident, my friends cried, everyone around me cried but i didn't. But then I found myself three months later and something little triggers my pain and it's a tsunami of tears. I mean I was wailing and struggling to breathe I was crying so hard. I carry that self sustaining strength that is birthed as protection but in the end inhibits the ability to cry and grieve which is my grandmothers and I am sure goes further back than her. Generation after generation of women who have felt they had to be so strong that their grief had very few ports to rest in during the storms of life. They are my history and hereditary linage, but even as I am bound to them I am also separate. I am able to choose to change as much as I can. I am offered the chance to change how I react to life, to each day and I am blessed to take those good and beautiful elements of this family history and make them part of how I live in the world as well. But more than anything I am able to sit with my grandmother and bear witness to her sorrow and beauty.