March 1st. For the past two years, I've found myself particularly torn on this day. For it is my Grandmother's birthday, and also the anniversary of Andrew Breitbart's death. Two people who've had a profound impact on my life, though in considerably different ways. How do I honor them both? I suppose it may be a bit awkward and unwieldy, but I feel like incorporating some things I've previously written about them both into a combined tribute of sorts. It's lengthy. But I'm glad it gave me the this opportunity to reflect on what they have meant to me, both before and after I wrote the below.
In the case of my Grandmother, I know she has been with me since, holding my hand when I needed it to be held and nudging me in the right direction. I think she'd be pleased to see how far she's helped me come. And I think she'd be happy for me.
In the case of Andrew, there are many times when I find myself discouraged. And then I think of him. And I try to honor him by being my own sort of happy warrior.
God bless them both:
From 2011 - Questions I’d Ask My Grandmother
Tomorrow would have been my Grandmother’s 105th birthday. I know we were so lucky to have her through her 100th – I got to grow up, go to school, get my college and law degrees, get married, have a child, all with her in my life. Best of all, Riley got to spend time with her Great Grandma and get to know her before she left us. And I think – no, I know – she was ready to go when she did. So, it’s selfish of me to think like this, I suppose. But, so often these days, I’m struck with the realization that I need her now more than ever.
I won’t say I took my Grandmother for granted. I can’t remember there ever being a time when I didn’t see her for the amazing, strong, beautiful spirit she was. Grandma just had this…presence. An almost regal bearing, though not a cold one. But I do regret not taking the time to sit and really talk with her before she went -- not just about the little things, but the big things, too: life, love, loss.
I didn’t realize I’d someday find myself on a path quite similar to hers. I never really stopped and thought about how she came to travel that path herself. What it meant to her. What it might have cost her. I never asked her either. And I don’t even know if she’d have been able or willing to tell me. But I sure do wish I would have.
It will, no doubt, seem strange to some that I’ve felt her, here with me, at times since she passed on. Always, there is the idea of her. But on a couple of occasions, I’ve actually felt her with me, even heard her voice and felt her hand on my shoulder. Those weren’t scary moments, at all. A little strange, but more comforting than anything else. Sometimes, I wish she’d come back and sit with me for awhile. And then, maybe, I could ask her:
Was it hard to be so strong? Where did you look to for that strength? What sustained you?
Did you envision your life turning out the way it did? What would you have done differently if you could? How did you maintain your focus on what you had, instead of what you didn’t?
When your heart was broken, what helped heal it? When you wrote, what inspired you? When you cried, what brought the laughter back?
Was it scary, being a single mother? Did you ever worry you were letting Mom down? If you were failing her by not providing her with a traditional family?
How did you manage to run a farm and a post office? (I realize the town was small, and you had some help with the farm, but I can barely manage a tiny house and a decent-sized yard.) How did you know what you needed to do? Where did you find the time to do it all?
How did you learn to live alone without being lonely? To be independent without becoming isolated?
What would you tell me if you were here now? What wisdom would you share with me to help me find my way?
Most of all, do you have any idea how amazing you are? What a blessing you’ve been in my life?
I love you, Grandma.
From 2012 - The Magic of Grandma
I've written of my Grandmother previously. Today, in honor of her birthday, a slight change of pace - just a mini-blog/remembrance of her that always makes me smile:
To a four year old, there is much magic to be found in the world: A day with Grandma, a trip to the laundromat, an ice cold Dr. Pepper from the soda machine. Combine those three things together and you'll find one of my most salient and precious childhood memories.
My Grandma would be turning 106 today if she were still with us. I was lucky --she stayed with us until she was 100. She was the most amazing lady I've ever met and she inspires me more than anyone I know.
The other day, a friend teased me about Dr. Pepper and it inspired a mini-rant: Everyone has their beverage preferences, but one thing no one will ever take from me is my love of Dr. Pepper. Because I associate it with the magic of my Grandma. Plus...it tastes awesome!! :)
And from later that same day in 2012 - I Never Expected Andrew Breitbart to Break My Heart