Grateful for my Grandmother. And you ❤️
As we all prepare for Thanksgiving, I wish you and your families a beautiful holiday. I’m deeply grateful for you. In the spirit of thanksgiving, I wanted to share a bit about my grandmother…
One of her repeated phrases was, “We’ve got a lot of living to do.” Even as a 95-year-old who had lived through WWII, the Depression and the untimely death of three sons, her enthusiasm for life remained refreshing as a child’s. Despite having experienced no shortage of heart crushing tragedy, her positive perspective was unwavering.
I’ve always admired Grandmother’s ability to see the glass overflowing, and wondered how she consistently met life with untainted open eyes. She attributed her strength to the ability to ‘endure’ (a word she repeated many times over many years).
“No one knows how to endure anymore. They reach for the bottle or pills. If your head is clear, you will eventually come to a conclusion, a solution. But you must endure. Even if there is pain or insecurity. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t work,” she’d say.
Grandmother was a consummate Good Girl and one of the last remaining Southern Belles, living her entire life in the Garden District of New Orleans.
Always a lady, she was not one to raise her voice or use ‘bad words.’ She did occasionally use the word ‘hell,’ but always with discretion and usually followed by an apology.
One of her most frustrated moments was at 87 when she decided to try ‘the email.’ I received this one and only message:
THIS IS SO COMPLICATED. I HOPE THAT UNCLE MIKE HAS THE TIME AND PATIENCE.
She never Googled a thing, but encouraged me more than once to ‘Oogle it.’
Grandmother would rather write letters or garden while listening to opera than sit at a ‘computa.’ She could still be found pulling weeds or even sawing into trees in her 90s.. She may seem like a well put together southern Scarlett who lived in a fancy house, but she was one of the most down to earth and humble people I’ve ever known. She greeted everyone with warmth and referred to many as ‘darlin.’
Despite her difficulty adapting to technology, Grandmother grew and changed with the times. She told me often that “Life is a learning experience,” and I’ve witnessed her flowing with many changing tides as a graceful guru in pearls.
Beyond her charm, she lived life with steadfast gratitude. Her usual response when asked how she felt was, “Couldn’t be betta!” Despite many trying times where she could have complained or spiraled into depression, she endured and even thrived. She believed life was a gift and no matter how challenging the circumstances, there was always a lesson to be learned or a greater plan taking place.
She made the choice to see magic and made even the most mundane parts of life sparkle. I once watched her eat Starkist tuna, fresh from a can, chewing slowly with eyes closed, quietly murmuring, “Superb!”
She was my biggest support. Last year when I started Essentiel she called as soon as the product arrived and said, “I want to be your first customa.” Since then, she used my moisturizer every day and told me repeatedly that her skin felt ‘soft as silk.’
The last time I saw Grandmother was this past August. I sat at the edge of her bed just days before she passed. She told me that she was ready and ‘at peace.’ I thanked her for creating this family and for being the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, inside and out and for teaching me to think, laugh, play and LOVE. I told her I could only hope to have her grace, but would do my best to carry on her name to inspire others in ways she’s inspired me. When I asked if there was anything I could do for her, she shook her head and assured me she was ‘doing fine.’ Then I asked her if there was any last wish I could fulfill for her in the future. She paused, looked me in the eyes and said, “Just be you and enjoy life.’
Although I wasn’t present when she took her last breath, I was told a single tear streamed down her face. I imagine angels greeted her with a superb and glorious welcome home. She is now one of them.
Days after grandmother passed, this hand written note was found in her wallet beside a picture of her father…
May your holidays be heartfelt and full! Thank you for being part of this growing community. I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for this season. Please share in the comments!