If you had words of wisdom to share with ten thousand people, what would you say?
I asked my mother how her mother, Grandma Bea, would answer.
She shrugs as she reflects on her answer. “I lost her too soon,” she replies.
“‘This too shall pass’ was a favorite of hers, but I’m not so sure about that one anymore. It feels too dismissive, or at least that it only applies in limited circumstances, like a dental appointment.”
Mom runs her fingers through her short, silver hair and grows thoughtful.
“Your grandmother spoke by actions and attitudes. She was inclusive, hospitable, and generous on many levels. Never took herself too seriously and loved to have a good time – I miss her friendship mightily.”
I think about this word: friendship. I savor my Mom’s friendship every day. It has been a big part of our relationship my entire life.
Although I spent a little time with her, I never really knew Grandma Bea. Before I was born, she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that left her bedridden, paralyzed, and unable to speak. I remember sitting by her bed and watching a solitary tear trickle down her cheek as she looked at me.
Even though I was very little, I understood her grief over what she had lost. Decades later, I began to understand what I had lost – an enduring friendship with a wise woman who loved me.
“That’s a hard question.”
She hesitates, taking this task seriously.
“As I grow older, I have tried to become more and more focused on acting with integrity. Not living with regrets. That doesn’t mean not doing hard things that I don’t want to do, but doing them anyway so that my actions are in line and integrated with my conscience.”
With a broad smile, she adds,
“Oh yes, and as my sister Karen said, ‘Eat more ice cream!’Every day, find something lighthearted to take pleasure in. Never forget to have fun along the way.”
My Mom makes friends wherever she goes.
Making space to listen to our elders is important to me. That is why I am reading Grandmothers Counsel the World for the BotanicWise Book Club meeting on August 23.
“We, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking, and healing are vitally needed today. We believe that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future.”
Women mentoring women is an ancient tradition still relevant today…essential today. When women gather together, they weave connections with each other, golden threads that channel the wisdom of our grandmothers and their grandmother’s grandmothers.
Once a year, this message comes home to me at the BotanicWise Women’s Herbal Gathering. For one weekend, from the very young to the very old, we gather together and weave a golden tapestry of grandmother wisdom.