Crazy-ass family

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Thank God For Love

Her name is Elaine, and she is beautiful.

When I was a little girl, life at home was…challenging. That, coupled with the fact that I seemed to be seeing things that others weren’t made me anxious most of the time. My grandmother knew how to take it all away. When we’d visit her, she’d take my face in her hands and look into my eyes. Those few moments were just for me. My aunts and uncle, brother and sister, parents, and cousins would be everywhere – talking, laughing, whatever – but for me, all that existed were Grammy’s eyes. And her soft hands, warm on my cheeks. I know sometimes she’d say something; I love you, How are you, Look how much you’ve grown…but she didn’t really have to.

My Grammy’s eyes.

My Grammy’s hands.

I watched her do that to my cousins, too. To my aunts, to my father. Each time was just for them, and each time, she poured love into those few moments. And you could see how much it meant to every person she touched.

When I was twelve, I still couldn’t swim. I was terrified…just part of my anxiety. Of my catastrophic thinking. One night in Maine, she and I lazily drifted around my cousin’s pool. I was chattering on to her about everything and nothing, and remarked that she could swim really well. Somehow, some way, she took all my fear away that night. Somehow, I came out of that pool able to do a clumsy breaststroke. Able to dunk my entire self underwater. Like it was no big deal. She didn’t coerce, or bribe, or force. She smiled. She encouraged. She laughed. She made me WANT to do it. For her. And somehow, I ended up doing it for me. She is magic that way.

My Grammy.

When she was very young, she got sick. Scarlet fever, I think. But the strength in her…that amazing, visible strength carried her through. Her heart, ravaged by the illness, has suffered over the years. She’s needed operations and valve replacements. I remember visiting the family in P.E.I. one summer, watching her swim, being in awe of her strength. In awe of that constant smile on her face. The last time I had seen her, she had been in a hospital bed after a heart operation.

I cannot say in words just how this woman has inspired me in my life. I love her as her granddaughter. I admire her as a human. Every person has a hero. My Grammy is mine.

She is 82. Her name is Elaine. She is beautiful.

She has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

She’s going to be okay. No matter what, she’s going to be okay.

And if she has anything to say about it, the rest of us will be, too.

She is so, so beautiful.

9 Comments:

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Jenn said...

And this is so, so beautiful. Much love and best good-healthy wishes from here to Grammy. She sounds wonderful. I see where you get it from.

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger The Mater said...

Tree, it is "all in the eyes" (as I've written about my dad at my blog).

Her look and her touch have imprinted themselves on you forever. Now this grand 'ole Granny is starting down a new path ... no matter her prognosis, what you've shared about her shows that she will walk the path well. And she'll know she's certainly not alone. You'll be sending such loving energy to her on the journey.

I loved the story of her teaching you to swim. What a beautiful childhood memory.

Please continue to share what you can with all of us. We're all here for you too.

Hugs, another Granny Elaine xxoo

 
At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Kels said...

Tree,

That was a beautiful post:) You painted a gorgeous picture of Elaine.

Send her love for me:) Kels.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute. I'm sorry to hear that she is ill and I send my best wishes. My thoughts, prayers, energy are with her and with you.

Jill

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my sister that was so beautiful..i have tears...

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger MB said...

What a beautiful entry. You'll have to write more about her. She sounds so lovely. I hope her prognosis is a good as can be expected.

 
At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Sheri said...

Beautiful post, thank you for sharing. Connections with grandparents are so important. All my love to you and Elaine - she'll shine no mater what.

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger s@bd said...

big hugs (cyber, of course)

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger mama_tulip said...

That was just breathtakingly beautiful...she's in my thoughts...

 

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