You have a long journey today, so I am sending you loving thoughts and prayers.
I hope you can feel the strength of them from afar. I hope they keep you warm.
I cried when I read your words about your grandmother and her flight from Hungary and her move to hospice.
But I was heartened by what you wrote about her strength and the lessons she has taught you, a young woman building a bright life in a new city.
Grandmothers are forever, my friend.
Whenever I learn that someone still has a grandmother in their life, I congratulate them and remark on their good fortune. Grandmothers are most precious.
My grandmothers were young when they died — young by today’s standards of longevity — and I have missed them both keenly for decades.
One, from Finland, taught me about sisu, that inner strength and resilience that is at the core of our family culture. She laughed and walked a lot in Toronto with her collie, Laddie, and smoked too much, and was a favorite among all the grandchildren for her Finnish cuisine, and her fun-loving approach to life. For her, family was all.
The other grandma, first generation from tough Scots, didn’t express affection as easily. The rigors of farm life — especially on women who did field work and all the housework and most of the child care — didn’t allow for a lot of laughter. But her tough exterior was another example of womanhood to me and my sisters. She shared her Scottish wisdom in no-nonsense ways.
Both my grandmothers were generous and loving, as I sense yours is too.
We celebrate these women all our lives, and they live in us. I often think, still, how much these two very different elders shaped me when I was young. It took far too many years to fully appreciate their influence.
I am so very glad you’ve shared your grandmother with us, through your writing. I want to learn more about your grandma’s life and about the two of you, together. I want to hug you both, and celebrate the wisdom of women between generations.
Peace for both of you — two very special women — and all your family on this journey, Kathleen