We said goodbye to my grandmother over the weekend. It was a short fight with pancreatic cancer, but in reality it was too long if you ask me. I wish she had not experienced a single day of it. But, in true fashion, she did so with strength, grace, and an unwavering faith in God and what was ahead for her. And so a life well-lived came to an earthly end and I am thankful for the inspiration she brought to my family and my life. I am a few days late in posting this because I have been working out in my head what I wanted to say about her. The truth is, she was never one for bringing much attention to herself, so I will honor that and not plaster everything about her life all over my blog. Instead, I will just share a small, yet big, part of herself that she passed onto me. The love of antique shopping and estate sales. It was here, alongside of her, that I discovered a love for these stores and the inspiration they brought to me. We would spend mornings wandering through store after store, and it became one of the few places that would spark my imagination and get my creative brain going. I would envision how I could use the mismatched china set for an afternoon lunch, or the milk glass vase for my makeup brushes, or the old quilt on a wall. Over the years I collected for myself and began to find my own style. It was a mix of her (the elegant cut crystal, white milk glass, silver, and white linens) and me (organic objects, woods, graphic patterns, plants, pottery). I treasure every summer morning spent this way and rarely do I go into an antique store and not think of her. This was the beginning of what I have begun to realize is a bigger calling—for my career and craft. She will always be the root and inspiration for me.
There is something so bold about genetics and how we can have so much of a family member in us. It is meant to be this way, written out long before we can know it. In this way, our lives can be beautiful. I cannot say why I always had more of a connection with her than I have with others, but I can say that over the years the line has been blurred as to what is her influence and what is actually me. I am grateful I had so much time with her and knew her in the way I was suppose to, as a grandmother. We all play the roles we are supposed to play—sibling, spouse, parent, grandparent, friend—and they are important for specific reasons. Although I will say, I think we all remember her as graceful, devoted, classic, quiet, and strong. She will always be there when I see red and pink roses, crisp white linens, cut crystal and milky white glass. She will be there when I find myself wandering through my house rearranging my beloved objects and feeling at ease when all is in place. Or when I use my good china for a simple afternoon lunch. When I pull out any of the pearls I have gathered over the years, many from her, and feel suddenly polished. When I find myself putting my family before any wish I would ever want for myself. When I find myself unable to ever sit still and stop doing for those around me. Most importantly, when I sometimes catch glimpses of myself, as I grow older.