My gram as I always called her was the most influential in my life both as a child and as an adult. While her daughter thinks that she was because she gave birth to me, she would be wrong! Since I am expecting a few new readers, I will say this only now and then the subject is closed: my mother is/was very abusive to me. I do not need anyone to be sad or feel sorry for me as I am as reconciled to her actions as I can be, however, it is why I was so very close to my Gram and why I still miss her very much 24 years after her death. Now this doesn’t mean I’m pining for her or not moving forward in my life but that she contributed much to who I am as a person and I miss her.
Now, that being said, Gram loved New Year’s Eve! She always stayed up for it and no matter where I was living she called me at 12:01 every year! Many years I would be sleeping, since I had little ones and didn’t see the need to stay up to greet the New Year…..even now I don’t see the need but more on that in a bit. I remember one year i made the mistake of telling her I did not appreciate the midnight call and she replied with ” why are you sleeping its midnight?” I now wish she was alive to call and wake me up at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
I never asked her why it was so important to her but I’m guessing it was because a new year filled her with hope. I believe from the few things that I’ve learned over time that my Gram made some detrimental mistakes as many of us do and somehow the hope of a fresh start brought her comfort and perhaps a feeling of redemption in her life. In spite of her failings which as a child I knew none of, she taught me so much, about forgiveness and love. I ponder if it was because she never knew much of either of those necessary things? As a Counselor Trainee, and grad student in a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program; I can tell you that I believe she had a mental illness and self medicated all of my life as did my mother. Gram was a smart woman but she was very much a product of her time in society. Born in 1924 when women had few rights and little expectations beyond being a wife and a mother, also at a time when mental health issues were ignored. She worked hard at keeping traditions and helping to support her family. All of my knowledge of etiquette came from her as did my desire to have family traditions both of her making and ones I’ve added in. In sum, most of everything good in me that was given by The Lord, was nurtured by her. The Ark, my 17 yr old son, has his first serious girlfriend this year and I made sure that he gave a Christmas gift to her mother because of the many times she has driven him to swim practice or them to/from the mall. As I did that I was reminded once again of my Gram, and how proud she would have been that I realized she was the one who taught me that! The girlfriend’s mother was very impressed which made The Ark happy as well!
I’m thinking of how I want my children to know that all those little things I teach them about etiquette, love and forgiveness are things I learned from their great grandmother. This holiday season was a bit harder for me without her than others have been, I almost burst into tears in the middle of a store this season at some memory that hit me hard. Thanking The Lord for my psychology and counseling training!
Part of me is sad for her, she taught me love and forgiveness but I don’t think she ever had those things. In dwelling on my memories of her, I wish she had the relationship with The Lord that I do! While she focused on New Year’s Eve as a time of hope, my focus is on the birth of Jesus and Christmas Eve. ” my hope comes from The Lord” is very much who I’ve become as an adult. For me, there is nothing better than dressing up my family in whatever color theme we decide on and being at church to celebrate! Many years, I will be there with my family and then go back for the 11pm service by myself. I think this is the first year I realized that Christmas Eve is my New Year! The birth of my savior gives me the strength and hope that I can continue walking down the road The Lord has for me. When she died she looked at peace so a part of me is hopeful that she found the love and forgiveness from God then! Which makes me even more grateful to have been given it now, to celebrate my redemption and model it for my children!
I will always miss my grandmother but I can now celebrate her life with greater understanding because of the many things that she taught me that were so much more important than any monetary gift!
I hope you enjoyed this look into my life, this post is the first writing of my goal to write more, I have a book to write one day and need to flex my writing muscles.