Random thoughts about Grandparents and this life and its endings:
My Johnny K's cousins talk so often and so highly of their Italian grandmother that I have a living breathing sense of her in my head. Pretty amazing for she has been gone a long time. I have been thinking about my grandmothers and how I have sparkles of both of them within me. As I write this I picture them hovering, and nudging each other happily in a way they never would have actually done here on earth.
I read somewhere that the reason we grieve when people die is because they exist still in a place we cannot reach. That if we were not grieving so, we would be able to reach it better. That if they were truly "gone" we would not feel the grief so. This comforted me.
I do not think we lose people and I do not think they "rest in peace." I think they exit this movie theater and find themselves "home" and exclaim "Wow...That was something else!" Hopefully they appreciate what went on when they were here no matter what happened or how it ended. They have a chance to soak in what they gained from the experience. I believe they can still see us. When my Little Gran died I dreamt that my mother and I were standing face to face talking, and my Little Gran was right there listening. Gran was in a "Glinda the good witch travel bubble" just to my right, but if we turned to "see" her she was just out of our earthly sight. This comforted me.
My grandparents greeted you first today, in the above photo. This was before my mother was born and decades before I came along and then more decades before my Little Gran died and appeared in my dream. We had decades of time to play with her.
"It is into us that the lives of grandparents have gone." ~Charles and Ann Morse
Isn't that lovely.
Meanwhile, we are here. And sometimes we claim that it is good. Sometimes we claim that things are sad and bad and we are mad. We are all over the place with what we claim about it. However if we thought it was going to end next week for us, what would we claim? We would love it! We would eat and dance and drink it all in and be on the phone making spontaneous plans and get out to the mountains and the ocean and the woods and surround ourselves with connecting with friends and family we love most. We would talk to strangers and knock on our neighbors door to say how much we appreciated them. We would feel the rain and the heat and the snow and admire the birds and the flowers and have so much admiration for children and how wisely they embrace play. We would LIVE BIG for the week. When really, every day we can LIVE BIG. Do you need a death sentence to do it?
So come dance with me and listen to music and hug way more people and have that dessert and make the very best of it. Reach. Stretch. Appreciate. Love. Permission to choose a new path if the one you are on is not doing it for you. Live as if you would be gone next week.
They say everything at the root is love or fear based. What is at the root of you?
My grandmother, Elizabeth Stewart Gilchrist and her brother Arthur Bruce, approx 1910
Years ago, two sisters had written in to "Dear Abby", asking for advice about something that was destroying their close relationship. The mother of these sisters had died suddenly and she had left a lifetime collection of valuable jewelry. The daughters were trying to decide which of them got what, and they were finding it impossible to divide these emotional and valuable items fairly. Their emotions were raw to start with, and trying to decide who got each lovely thing, one piece at a time, was just too difficult. Their crying was spiraling down into anger and harsh words. Their mother would not have wanted them to act or feel this way about her jewelry and each other. What to do?
I do not have a sister and my mother does not have a vast jewelry collection. This exact question did not apply to me. But wisdom knocks at our door in all ways and that day my door was open. "Dear Abby" had a wise answer, and I added the essence of this answer to who I am as I live my life. To me, this answer was a diamond.
-Take the entire collection and give it to one sister. Have this first sister divide all the jewelry up into two piles.
-The second sister gets first choice of piles.
D-A-2-P-R. The "Dear Abby 2 Pile Rule". DA2PR made me a better parent, spouse, and friend. DA2PR was my ticket to the fair ground, but not the kind with ferris wheels and games of chance. This is a much more important kind of fair ground. A happier life is one grounded in fairness.
Think about that a minute. Imagine the care the first sister would take, knowing she would want to be happy with the pile she was left with. And for her to be happy, her sister had to be happy. She would be weighing all the different ways we value things, wanting it to be fair to both of them. She would be weighing both tangible financial value and intangible sentimental meaning.
I used this with my boys when they were little, taught them this was the way to divide things, when choosing toys "one by one" was not working. It always added some fairness to conflict.
DA2PR is a great way to split that last slice of pie. The one that divides it will be so careful to make the portions even, as the last bite left is the one they get. There is pressure on the slicer to get it just right. There would be three heads bent over that pie plate or that last ice cream sandwich, watching the chosen slicer do this delicate work. No one rushed the slicer! Accuracy and integrity cannot be rushed!
It also taught them that sometimes, picking "one by one" was what they wanted. I want THIS pirate and you choose that pirate, I want this hat for my pirate and you choose THAT sword for yours... step by step to a fair afternoon of play. They did not fight about it because they did not want to choose a ready made pile. At times they wanted more control over small things. Their favorite action figure might be in one pile and their favorite sword in another, and that would be no fun at all. So instead, step by step they would find a balance.
This is how I taught "the art of the deal" at home. This is how I taught partnership and companionship and relationship and stewardship. All these life values began at pirate ship. This is how we create a generation of honest business owners and politicians and leaders and workers. One tiny child at a time at home, learning how to get along as well as possible with whoever is in the house. Life in the world is just more of THAT.
Melissa Regan is a Storyteller who is honored to celebrate the life you live and the people you love. She partners with individuals at significant times of life and loss, supporting them by creating and presenting their loved ones story at a service or by planning an inspirational day of rememberance and reflection.
Melissa spent time as a critical care nurse before she became specialized in the field of organ donation. Melissa was well known for the care she gave grieving families and did this delicate work for 14 years. Her experience lead to her teaching heartfelt methods of communication to donation specialists around the world.
Inspired by everything these families taught her, she expanded her perspective on life by studying Positive Psychology, earning both a CiPP and a CAPP. She received training as an end of life doula through INELDA. She has a special grace all her own when it comes to supporting us at times of change and loss.
Melissa is a wife, mother, lifelong learner, and a lover of the wonder you can find in a single moment. She brings this wonder to her public speaking, connecting us to the grandness and depth always present in the day to day.
“Take a day to be thoughtful... the rest of your life is here.”