Not to rub it in…well maybe a little – but if everything has gone right, I am on a plane flying to Paris right now. My passport came through in time, so my mom, aunt, cousin and I are celebrating Granny’s life with a weekend trip to France.
We started this 8 years ago when Granny’s sister (Sis) died. She didn’t have any kids, so the four of us were it. While not a wealthy woman, she did have some life savings and while most went to her sister (Granny), there was a little that went to a weekend trip to San Francisco for the four of us.
The entire weekend didn’t center around conversations of Sis or our loss, but was a tribute to her none the less. Sis (via my mom) wrote us each a nice note with $100 bill in it for our spending money for the weekend. Do something nice for ourselves “on her” it said. The uncanny part was how much Sis and my mom’s handwriting looks alike, so at first I thought Sis had set it up before she died. But although my mom’s hand wrote the note – it felt like it was from Sis all the same.
I have great memories of that weekend. Of the four of us bonding and doing girly things together – exploring San Francisco, seeing the huge trees, eating at Fisherman’s Wharf, walking up the windy streets, visiting China Town, etc.
A trip with family is different than a vacation and I think the women getaways are especially important. The support and love and togetherness that comes with these times is unique and doesn’t occur that often. With family especially it has to happen away from anyone’s home because otherwise that person is the host and the rest are guests. There is no down time to really connect.
There are a couple of very good girlfriends that I can have this same experience with – the ones that I can pick up our friendship exactly where it left off even when months or years have passed since we last spoke. But except for those rare few friends, my family are the ones who know me – warts and all – and still love and accept me for who I am rather than who they wish I would be.
So, yes, when one of ours pass on – we celebrate their life. We carry on and talk about our families and our children and our careers or volunteer activities. We tour the sites and we eat delicious food and drink too much wine. But we wouldn’t be there or be who we are today if Granny hadn’t lived. We wouldn’t be having these conversations or be adventurous in our food choices if she hadn’t encouraged it when my mom and aunt were children. We wouldn’t be admiring the art and thinking of the scenes that could be created if Granny weren’t an artist and hadn’t inspired an eye for capturing a moment into each of us.
So while every conversation will not revolve around Granny, every moment and discussion will be a tribute to her. To her life. To her love. And to the mark she left on the world.
I love you Granny. Thank you so much for what you’ve given me.