Four generations of women in one small hospital room. I took a mental picture, and appreciated the beauty and gift; the four of us in this moment. We had even mentioned it to the nurse. As soon as the nurse left, the humor, so prevalent in our family set it. My daughter was warned by her grandmother, “don’t make it 5 anytime soon”! We enjoyed the laughter and I felt the Circle of life.
Daughter and I came as quickly as we could, hearing the news Great-grandma was sick. When I heard my Mom call, and she was crying, I knew it was time to come and be part of whatever was ahead of us, as a family.
Thankfully, as it stands now, Great-grandma is much better. She is someone I’ve known my entire life. She was born and raised in the same rural area, farm friends, as a crow flies, the next ranch over. My Mother (who died when I was 20) was friends with Great-grandma before she was technically my Grandma by marriage. My Dad, remarried and after 23 years of being step-Mom, I call her Mom. I’ve found a way to balance a loyalty to my Mother who adopted and raised me, while also allowing the love and space that stepMom has shown me, to be Mom as well. As a restorative justice practitioner, I work on aspects of my life that allow more love and healing for those around me.
Great-grandma loves me as grand-daughter and my daughter as a great-grand-daughter. When my daughter showed up with purple hair (long story) Great-grandma simply said “well, that’s the style now”. We appreciated her loving response. When I saw the purple hair I said “where can we go to fix that”.
I believe the Mother-Daughter relationship can be the most meaningful and the most complex. I want to recommend a book Mother, Heal My Self, by JoEllen Koerner. The book is subtitled An Intergenerational Healing Journey Between To Worlds. The book is recommended for nursing administrators, and further details link here, for the author, here. I loved this book, I read it two days. In the introduction the author quotes Barry Lopez:
. . . “sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That’s why we put these stories in each other’s memory.”
The story of Mother Heal Myself, is that type of story-gift. I loved it, and felt the messages so deeply when I read it. I thought about the book “the story” a lot, the last few days. I was spending time in the community where the book took place. I was extremely aware that our family may have to cope with the loss of someone. I was remembering that our loss would be her entry into Spirit world, and death brings a close examination of your beliefs. I have a blog post, encouraging Restorative Justice practitioners to closely examine these beliefs before practicing cases that involve a death.
I carry the story of this book with me, I carry the stories of our relationships – Mother-Daughter: Eleanor and Alice, Mother-Daughter: Alice and Kris, Mother-Daughter: Kris and Kylie. Like women everyone, none of these 4 are perfect, and we have loved our best and at times fallen short. We’ve had to say I’m sorry, we’ve gotten opportunities to say I love you. We said I love you a lot the last few days.
When family is there for each other it creates grace. I love the word grace, and it means a way of being more than the situation calls for. I believe it is “restorative-grace” when victims offer forgiveness, or give, in traumatic situations. When you do more than needed or expected that is showing up and living the value of grace. Giving with an unconditional and good heart is healing. Women have an incredible capacity to heal. Stories help us. I hope the story of this blog post reminds you of your relationships, the love you share with family and the actions you take to create stories and healing.