Some people,
can hear
the way their
hurts when they speak.


I’ve hit a wall in this exploration of family.  I think it comes from the fact of my youth.  So many of their memories I can’t remember, which makes me feel like I am not deserving of their story.

I am leaning on my grandmother, likely more than she knows.  I am relying on her to share the moments of their lives with me, so that, maybe, I can find some understanding.

Tonight, on the phone for well over an hour, she tells me things.  How she mushes her bananas with her oatmeal.  How the macaroni that I made her got too hard.  How the tuna salad that I brought her from the deli wasn’t anywhere as good as the tuna that I made her—a mistake that I will not repeat.  How somebody keeps coming by to clean out her refrigerator, and takes away the things she wants to eat.  Somebody is both my mother and myself; we each blame the other, which I find amusing.

She tells me about John, my uncle, and how he was afraid of being alone.  How he was such a handsome man.  How everybody always said how much he smiled and laughed.

She tells me about my cousin, and how he told her.  How she wondered why there were so many people in the family room.  About how he held her hand and said, My father passed away last night.  She said he was so gentle when he said it.  So kind.

She tells me about my cousin’s daughter, and how she misses Ompa.  About how she says that she misses him too.  How she tells her that whenever she thinks of him, she should think of all the goodness and the love inside the world, and every happy moment that she had with him.

She has a picture of Joey, my cousin, at her bedside.  Every night before she gets in bed she tells him that she loves him.  The 4 x 6 inch photo of him in a frame.  She tells him that she misses him, and wishes he were here.

She says that my grandfather taught her how to always do the right thing.  She tells me that she walks the cart back to the front of the grocery store every time she goes to shop, because it is the right thing to do.  All 85 pounds of her, rolling metal carts back to the storefront.

When we hang up the phone, she says, Have sweet sleep, and have a great tomorrow.

I’ve come to realize something.  All of us, shrouded around my grandmother, protecting her and loving her and lifting her up.  She holds the memories.  She is the symbol of our family—she was the first giver of life I knew and loved.  She is the keeper.  The keeper of our secrets and our hurts and our stories.  She is the key to our healing.

Her, and her mashed bananas in her oatmeal.  Her creamy Oro Wheat bread.  The way she tells me, My goodness, this is sooo good, as she dips into the shepherd’s pie I made her just the other night.  I’ve been focused on the patriarchs, and missed the love that came from matriarchs.  The hurt of the fathers was so great, that we forgot the love that mothers had been giving all along.

I am refocusing.  Orienting myself around her and the healing that she represents.  I have finally seen it—her, the thing that was before me all along.

So, to my dear friends, have sweet sleep, and have a great tomorrow.  You carry my heart, just as I will surely carry yours.  I have found my key to healing—I can only hope that you find yours.

33 thoughts on “Maternity

    1. Ahh it is not an easy journey mama bear. It still requires so much uncovering of sadness to get to certain truths. But I think she is the right person to do it with. Confronting sad realities with love is the only way I think, and I am excited to set forth on this course of healing. Love you ❤


    1. Ahhh my heart goes out to you on that one. We are all blessed in certain corners of our lives, and less fortunate in others–but even that is a certain gift that bestows strength. Your hurts are important, and I embrace them sister. You are so beautiful for them ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. sidney arndt

    Touched my heart, Shay! This writing brings back memories of my grandma who loved me to the moon and back and me, her. Glad you found a path to your healing journey.
    Wrap around hugs! Sidney

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keep talking to her, hear everything she has to say, no matter what she says, there is a truth to be learned and knowledge that will be lost forever someday. You make my heart ache at the opportunities I lost because of foolish pride/guilt/fear/guilt/guilt/guilt that kept me from being a part of my grandmother’s last years.
    I was so foolish and am less because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, those are some really intense and profound words you just shared. Thank you for that conviction and I will absolutely take your words to heart. The only thing I want to leave you with is that nothing you could have ever done in your life would make you any less worthy than you already are 🙂 . Worth is inherent, and you have that in spades, friend. Mistakes won’t change that–just be better for the next people you meet (boy have I learned that lesson a thousand times). Big love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is beautiful in so many ways. I miss my Grandma and my Mom so much. I still have moments of pure agony missing them so bad. I used to talk to them about much of life, we would sit together for tea and share memories of long ago. Their wisdom, love and humor will forever be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eventually, we all return to the Mother. Welcome home. 🙂

    I, Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,
    I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
    For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
    From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
    Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
    Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
    And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
    For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.


  5. I loved this line, and I am sure your grandmother meant more than just the taste. “How the tuna salad that I brought her from the deli wasn’t anywhere as good as the tuna that I made her—a mistake that I will not repeat.” It tasted better because YOU had made it.
    Your smile radiated through every word that you wrote.


  6. Pingback: Maternity — The Wild Heart of Life – The sense

  7. I’ve been reading your recent posts one after the other and very much enjoyed each, but for some reason, this post made me think of this song. I hope you don’t mind if I share it:


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