Everyone has methods of navigating difficult times. Some people count to ten, others take a deep breath…I channel my inner Helen.
Helen was my Grandma. She loved unconditionally and cared more about helping others than helping herself. She never panicked, she calmly assessed situations and she would just work through them, reassuring everyone around her that all would be ok. Grandma cared for elderly relatives..cooking, cleaning, helping them bathe, and she would always tell me that it was no problem because that is what you do for people you love. These are just a few of the reasons that I want my inner Helen to shine through. Shortly after she passed away a non-Believer friend of mine told me that “If there was a Heaven, she was definitely there”. I am a Believer and I know she is there.
I visited her with my children during her last few months, and she talked to me a lot about her own mother, Clara, and what an amazing woman she was. They were poor, but they were loved and that was what was most important. Special treats included homemade marshmallow candy or she would butter the children’s hands and let them help make homemade taffy. Every night they would bring her dad, the town trolley driver, dinner in little jars. Grandma always admired how her mom had a knack for assigning sleeping arrangements for the girls, six girls in a room with only two beds, that resulted in the least amount of arguing. Talking about her mom brought an instant smile to her sweet face.
My oldest daughter, almost five at the last visit, asked Grandma about her “special doll” in her bedroom. The doll in Grandma’s bedroom sat on her dresser for as long as I could remember. Grandma told Micaela to go ahead and bring the doll to her. She let her hold it and rock it. She looked up and softly shared with me how much she loved that doll, her own grandmother had made it for her when she was a little girl…more than 80 years earlier. A beloved piece of her childhood, and she was letting my daughter play with it. The doll, pictured below, was cared for. It was worn, but clean, and 80 years after childhood still brought joy to her.
We keep this doll safely wrapped and packed away, she is precious. But we take her out sometimes to look at her, remember and talk about Grandma Helen.
I hope one day that my grandkids will want to channel their inner Heather for the same reasons I channel my inner Helen.