Today is the day my Grandmother died a year ago.
I was there. I saw her last breath and heard her last heart beat.
This might be a strange way to start a post about Wellness, but keep reading to see where I’m going with this.
My grandmother Jessie was an amazing woman. She was a story teller. She was a seamstress. She was an amazing cook, who had 7 kids, 11 grandchildren, and 6 great-grand children. The wonderful thing about her is that everyone of us thought we were her favorite. She had this way of being able to hear you, like really hear and understand what you were saying. She gave her advice, straight up: no chaser.
As a mother of 2, I often wondered how she was able to do this? How did she find the time each day to make us all feel special? How did she find time for herself? She was always singing and dancing just for herself. She had serious joie de vivre! I felt like time slowed down a bit when you were with her. She was happy. How I could be more like her. What was her special power? After a lot of soul searching, it dawned on me. My grandmother was present. Physically and mentally.She stayed connected to the person she was with and kept them in that moment with her.
We should all have read by know how mindfulness can have a HUGE impact on your health and relationships. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when things are pulling us away 24/7 (smartphone, kids, work etc.). The thing with my grandmother was when you were chatting with her you didn’t pull out the phone (she would tell you it was rude) unless you were showing her something. She also kept you roped into conversation with her interesting stories or advice. She didn’t talk fast, but she talked with purpose. As soon as you were with her (whether it was 5 minutes or 5 hours) she paid 100% attention to you and whatever you were talking to her about. Her ability to be present in the moment made you feel like you were the most important thing in the world. That is why she was loved by so many. She made use of each second of her time with you. She was never rushed.
When I think about my grandmother, I often tear up. I’m sure it’s grief, but there is also missing that connection. That one on one. The great advice. The eyes that peered right into your soul. How do I feel that closeness again? I can choose to slow down and have meaningful, un-interrupted conversations with people. If it’s 5 seconds or 5 hours, I try to stay focused on the person/people I am with. It means putting down the phone. It means having a conversation with someone without distractions. It’s the littlest things that have the biggest impact. I am trying to instill these practices with my children as well. It is harder than you think but I’ll keep working at it. I never understood how important theses lessons were until after she was gone. I wish I could have told her that.
The last thing my grandmother ever said to me was that she loved me and she was proud of me. She touched my face and looked right into my eyes. I know she could see me. It was the smallest act, with a huge impact. Slow down, don’t be distracted and talk to someone with full attention today. Help me honor her, by honoring presence.