I believe our souls hold contracts with each other’s souls. Some of these contracts prove to be unbreakable.
My most sacred contract was with my maternal grandmother. Our love for one another was unmistakable and we simply would have done anything to create a better life for each other.
Our contract probably began before we each arrived here. But to my conscious knowledge, I always felt the commitment to be fierce. When I was 5 years old, I saw her collapse in front of me from anaphylaxis when we were alone in her home and I was not willing to watch her die. When I was 6, she felt the same when I spent a week unconscious in a hospital room, and with my mother on another continent, she watched over me night and day; she was my guardian, my heartbeat, she was utterly unwilling to leave my side.
Our connection went on like this throughout her life including the traumatic details surrounding her death and all that followed.
My grandmother would have been 100 years young today, had she not passed from a severe trauma 12 years ago, this same week: October 1, 2003.
She was the woman in my life who taught me about the power of love and through her I learned that love never dies.
She was opinionated and judgmental. She was curious about life and the questions it raised- from the DOW to deep spiritual questions which enabled us to sit in conversation and contemplation about her own death and how it would impact her heart and my own, and my urgent request for her to find ways to contact me from the other side.
With 60 years between us, there was simply no distance that separated us. She spoke to me of her loneliness and alienation, experiences which we all share, but feelings I knew I could not take away.
I learned this lesson as a child: it was in that quiet look she had, her vulnerable eyes which spoke powerful narratives and taught me about the stories of her life.
I was the one who told her that her beloved had passed and I was the one who held her when he was removed from their home. I held her in her grief for the duration of her life, which grew to bewilder and confuse her. And she would continue to teach me about that quiet gaze.
This is why I sit now.
When my grandmother died, it was a traumatic event. What was asked of me caused further trauma which initially took at least a year for me to recover from. The sight, the smell, the entire forensic scope. But it took me far longer, more than a decade, to recover from the loss which was thrust upon me with the same ferocity as the accident.
It took time. Time given. Time lost. Time broken. Time forgiven. Time to rebuild. It took the time it took. It took time.
The reality is nothing in life is ever ours. And nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. The only thing you can count on is who you know yourself to be. And surely that is going to shift and change with varying circumstances, especially traumatic ones. But I believe our core values tend to THRIVE and flourish even in the worst of circumstances.
What I know and have always known is that I came from my grandmother. I came from her and I honor and love all of her nuanced holiness and complexity just as she would want me to honor and love my own.
I honor our ability to understand what was unspoken between us but was always deeply conveyed.
I honor all that she taught me about the beauty and power of love.
This is the power women possess and pass onto one another.
She taught me the ways love can break you.
And how it can force you to rise from the depths.
Again and Again.
She taught me about the helplessness of love.
And also the anchor of it.
She taught me the sustainability of love.
She taught me about a love that is so quiet, you have to develop a new way of listening.
She taught me how to navigate my own edges of pain.
She led me to learn how to wait for myself
no matter what.
She fought with me.
She fought with me.
So I would know
I could and
Would always come out on the other side
I would always be there to hold myself up
and With love.
In honor of my grandmother and in honor of our collective call to act, in honor of the places in my grandmother and the places in me that push and push for things to be better and for others to rise to their strongest and their best, here is my personal call:
I’m not buying that anyone and I mean ANYONE, a lover, a friend, a family member, or even a foe, can get in the way of this kind of love, or this kind of power. Not ever.
In honor of my most sacred of all relationships, the turn of a century and on this Yarzeit, I honor you, I honor me, I honor all women and I say in honor of my grandmother, I’m not buying anything that does not line up with love, strength, empowerment, truth, integrity, dignity, accountability, kindness, engagement, and generosity of pure heart.
To my grandmother, I thank you for always inspiring my heart to open. And I thank you for teaching me how to love more and from more.
That is a power women possess and one we must honor and celebrate fully.
Today, I honor 100 years of love.
Please join our call to action on October 1, 2015