I had a wonderful visit with my older brother recently. It is always a tender feeling to be with the one person who knows my beginning; the one person who traveled the same path in childhood.
I am amazed to look into his eyes and see a part of our parents and even myself. One glance into his eyes and I feel his love and compassion. His eyes say ‘I know’, and that is enough for me.
We know our story together and yet we each have our own interpretation. It is not uncommon for siblings to tell completely different tales of the same upbringing. We are all individuals with our own experiences.
Yet, ‘we know’. My brother is four years older than me. When our mother died, his eight-year-old self already had so many more memories and experiences than my four-year-old self. He knew.
Although I don’t recall us as kids, ever really talking about her death, he has been gracious with his memories through the years. Some of his memories have become mine. I’ll always be grateful for that.
Whenever I am fortunate enough to spend time with my brother, I feel comforted. As our eyes lock, we see our story flash by. Sometimes briefly and vague and sometimes, we stop to tell it again.
No one else in my life will ever share my story. He is my link to our past and my anchor to the future. He knows, and that is more than enough for me.
It is impossible to predict circumstances or situations that might befall us. You did not choose the life that was given you. I did not choose to be motherless, just as you had no choice in being without a grandmother.
I feel it sometimes when I recall my own Grandma. She taught me to sew and fixed me old-fashioned hot cakes in a cast iron skillet. When I spent the night with her, she would tuck me in, piling home-made quilts on top before telling me she loved me.
I hear it in your voice when you say we spoil our grandkids by giving them too much or catering to their wishes. I forget that you didn’t have that. You didn’t have a grandmother’s love. You may not know that it is a grandmother’s privilege to give this unconditional outpouring to her grandchildren. I have heard it said that a grandmother is like an angel who takes you under her wing, she prayers and watches over you and she would give you anything.
Just as I cannot know what my relationship would have been with my mother, I cannot know how she would have been as a grandmother to you. I cannot predict how the past might have been. I cannot describe what never was. But, I am sorry you didn’t have a grandmother. I’m sad you missed that bond as you grew up. I would give anything to have her here for you as well as myself.
It seems unbelievably unfair that we have had to navigate life without a mother and a grandmother, but, we have done just that. Perhaps, in a quiet moment, we can reflect on our depth and our capacity to love even though our guide was not able to be with us. Somehow, we learned to be in this world while receiving our direction from above.
Christopher Morley said, “It is as grandmothers, that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace.” As I am coming into the fullness of my grace, I wish for you to feel your grandmother’s love through me. When you see my interactions with the grandchildren, stop and feel the love for yourself. Whatever I do, say, feel and express to them…..take it into your heart. Let the little child within you be at peace, and as you do this, feel your grandmother’s love through me. The healing balm of her love transcends time and space, we have only to believe…..and I do.