As expected, the family gathering in Connecticut went better than expected. After my rant about my anxiety, and then getting on the phone and spewing my every worry about the upcoming event to someone I trust to listen without making me feel worse, I immediately felt as if all those worries vanished. That’s not my usual reaction after giving vent to every anxious thought that has been plaguing me, but she wisely pointed out that sometimes just naming the fear robs it of its power.
Several days later, as I picked up my mom at the airport, who flew in for the occasion, and would be staying in my van turned hotel for the next five days, I had no problem with the prospect of sharing my space—my refuge—and knew it would be okay. It was. It actually went really smoothly, in fact.
And at the gathering itself, I didn’t feel the need to try to fit in or impress or be anyone other than who I am at this moment, and that took so much of the pressure off that I was far more at ease than I can ever remember being in any social situation.
Fortunately, my family is not one of those that has high drama and can barely stand to be around each other. They are a pretty easygoing crowd that actually likes each other; even still, this time I felt more easygoing—more “fluid” is how my mom later described it—than ever before.
We were gathered to say goodbye to my grandmother. I don’t like to get into other people’s details on this blog—what I share of myself is my choice—yet I offer these few words as my public tribute to her.
Born in 1921, Gramm helped raise a gaggle of younger siblings through the Great Depression and started a family during a World War, and like everyone of her generation, saw the world change more that I can possibly imagine.
Electricity was still not universally available when she was a girl, neither were automobiles, airplanes, nor telephones. Women’s suffrage had only relatively recently secured women the vote, radio programs were the popular entertainment, and insulin and home refrigerators had just been invented, but not Scrabble or Bingo, yet.
She would have watched Charles Lindbergh fly across the Atlantic, Neil Armstrong land on the Moon, and supercomputers miniaturized to fit in her grandchildren’s pockets.
She also saw the invention of nylons, paper tissues, Liquid Paper white out, records, and home movies.
Through all of that, she raised children, took care of her husband, traveled the country, kept in touch with friends, enjoyed her cats, made lots of crafts (including the little sketch at the top of this page), and even wrote poetry. She felt very deeply but barely showed it, perfecting the stoicism learned early by many of her generation.
As was obvious in the crowd gathered to honor her, she was very much loved and will be deeply missed. I loved her and will miss her.
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