My grandma was my hero
My grandma was my hero. It’s taken me 50 years to really learn to follow her example, and I’m still working on it, but she was always there guiding me. Had she not experienced the heart break of losing her love, my wonderful grandpa, at 93, I and all of my family have no doubt that she would have surpassed the century mark. Those who live to such benchmark ages are often asked how they did so, what were their secrets. There have been many answers, but I think the main path is healthy thoughts and mindfulness.
Research has shown that parts of our DNA, which shorten as we age, do so much earlier when under high levels of chronic stress. Stress can actually age us more quickly, or lead to greater illness. Worth note here is an emphasis on the word ‘can’…because the key to this occurring is actually how we respond to the stress, not the stress itself. Someone who is chronically unhappy and feels stressed much of the time and reacts intensely to external events will age much more quickly than someone who is less reactive, more easy-going and less judgmental. Those who can stay in the moment rather than rehashing the past and anticipating or fearing the future will not only be happier, but healthier.
This was my grandma. She was queen at rolling with the punches. She always gave the benefit of the doubt and was slow to find fault with anyone. She was an, “Oops!” gal, rather than a “Crap!” or “Damn it!” gal. And she was pretty much always happy. We never talked about mindfulness, but through her actions I could tell that she was very good at being in the moment. Every little thing was important to her and she loved to recount it all to others so they could partake in her joy and wonder of it all. She ‘busied’ herself with activities, but she focused on each one wholeheartedly; she didn’t flit from one thing to the other randomly without care and was obviously completely content with what she was doing at the moment. This was a woman who still ironed EVERYTHING at age 93, because it was important to her that she, and especially her loving husband, had nicely cared for things, like napkins and pants and yes, even underwear! And while she ironed these things, she was content as could be.
While I miss her terribly and wish she were still here to share in life’s experiences, small and large, I’m ever so grateful that I had her to enjoy and guide me through nearly 49 years.
Things she taught me that I try to remember on a daily basis:
~Never take anything for granted and say “thank you” often
~See the best in everyone and give them the benefit of the doubt
~Approach everything from the tiniest flower to a Christmas present with the delight and excitement of a child
~Say “I love you” often
~Ask others how they’re doing then share your own experiences and feelings
~There’s nothing more important than family
~Do what you love and love what you do
Thank you, Grammy. I miss you so.