She smiled with weeping eyes and I could see that this was her unrelenting sacrifice for my brothers, my sisters and me. When I looked at her, really looked at her, I saw a world of rich experience. I saw stories in each wrinkled line of her face, I saw happy memories in the deep dimples that sat crater-like on the two sides of her mouth, and a world of painful joy in her eyelids, that narrowed every time she looked at us and smiled, covering all but the black of her eyes.

She shared her struggles, but never in a way that made me feel burdened or sad. She would tell me that she missed my grandfather or sometimes that she wished she could go back home, if just for a day. She would cry while sharing stories of her past, and would sit still and quiet when she heard a piece of music that reminded her of her husband, but her grief was not despair. I had seen sad people before, that would refuse to be joyful and happy even when happiness and joy came to find them, and who used their difficulties as an excuse to fight or to hide away, but in her transparency and readiness to smile and laugh with us, she showed us that sadness was natural, but should eventually have an end. That sadness was inevitable, but our paths should never end there.

She would tell us, “Tears are like rainfall, that is healthy and good, but only for a short period of time. They can impair and overwhelm sight if left unbridled by the sky. She would then hold us tight and say, “My little ones you are like skies that have great horizons and potential. You must always allow the sun’s rays to pass through you.”

So, her sadness would not burden us, but still, she would try and hold back tears associated to loss and disappointment. She sought to uplift. And this sacrifice of her most human inclination, to cry, to create a joyful atmosphere, is something that I always try to remain conscious of.

Comments on “Grandmother”:

Andrew says:
26 Jul 2011, 16:42

Very nice piece. It's a personal account, but the reader is really drawn in with the second paragraph, where the author pulls back and looks at how people sometimes use grief almost as a crutch or coping mechanism. A keen insight, but it also shows us why this particular grandmother is so special and so appreciated by these grandchildren.