Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dreams of my grandmother...

Blog ideas have been coming full force as I navigate through life these days. Sometime I really wish I could just write all day, but weekends and evenings will have to do,  for now.

I had an extremely vivid dream last week. I had a dream Greg and I were driving past my Grandmother's house in Linwood. We were kind of  almost surveying her, in that we could see her, but she couldn't see us. As we drove by, I noticed she looked incredibly happy. She was actually driving my Papa's car around their yard. Now, for anyone who knew my Grandmother, this was totally out of character, as my Grandmother, as far as I know, never had her license. She was, I think, afraid to drive. It was amazing to see her driving around and so much more carefree than I remember her being. I am not sure if there is more of a backstory to that?

She just appeared so carefree and relaxed. Now, I never saw her with long hair, or a ponytail, but she was sporting both in this dream, as she was driving around the yard. While I don't know that she ever had either, it just came across to me as she was letting her hair down and being comfortable and happy. 

I decided to go through the front entrance (which we never used) to surprise her. I rarely dream of her, since she passed in 2007, so it was a nice dream to have. I went into the house and totally surprised her. We hugged and it was just great. She was so excited telling me about all of the things she was doing, including driving, exercising, walking, etc. She seemed so much happier and carefree than she was when I knew her.

I am not sure if this dream was meant to tell me she is happy and doing well, or if it was to try and tell me that I just need to relax, be easier on myself and try and take myself a bit less seriously. I had this dream Tuesday evening. When I got to work on Wednesday, I told my co-worker all about my dream. She thought perhaps it was trying to tell me to face my fears and not be so afraid. In hind-sight it is so interesting because Wednesday evening is when I had my minor panic attack at the gym with my trainer.

The worst part of the dream was that I was just about to tell her that Greg and I are getting married and I woke up. It was a pretty crazy dream. I can close my eyes now and still see her driving my Papa's car around the yard.

This all made me think about my Gram. I really wish she had had a blog, or a diary, or some equivalent of an off the cuff and behind the scenes, Gram. I would have loved to learn more about her, other than her as my Grandmother. The more I grow up and realize that I still feel like I am a 16 year old sometimes, I realize that my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, etc must also feel this way. Sometimes it is hard to remember to think of our relatives as people with lives, outside of how we interact with them. 

I would have loved to hear more of my Grandmother's stories about growing up, Canada, my Grandfather, his time in the war, them raising a family together, their struggles, the loss of her son, her wishes, hopes and dreams, etc. There is so much I wish I learned about her and wasn't so afraid to talk about. I know I only knew my Grandmother, as my Grandmother. I am very sad to say, I am not sure I knew her as a person, really.

I knew many of her quirks and nuances, just from being around her so much. I knew about some of her struggles and challenges, from seeing her and overhearing conversations as a small child, but all from other people's perspectives, never from her own. 

I was lucky to spend a lot of time with my Gram, growing up. When my mother was going to get her Master's I would go to my Gram's after school many times a week, and would do my homework and have dinner there. If I was sick, I would often go to my Gram's during the day so my parents could go to work and spend many Friday nights at her house. During the day, we would watch "Days of our Lives." At night, we would watch the news, "Wheel of Fortune," "The Golden Girls" and "TGIF" when I spent Friday nights at her house. 

I have also been thinking about her funeral a lot lately. The priest spoke a lot about her  simple life. I remember being really bothered by this. I felt like he was somehow putting her down. He was talking about the fact that she lived, worked and went to church all within walking distance. I know the priest meant well, but for some reason, it bothered me how he was speaking of my Grandmother. Why did the word "simple" have a negative connotation to me on that day? 

Looking back on all of it now, I think my grandmother was ahead of her time. Talk about a walkable and green life. Being able to walk home, to the hair dresser, to work and church. While my Papa had a car, my Gram didn't drive, so she was able to find a way to be independent while not driving. She could get where she needed to go. Granted my Aunt Fig and her family definitely needed to help out once my Papa passed away, whether it would be going to the grocery store, doctor's, pick-up prescriptions, shopping etc. I can imagine it was hard for her to need to count on other's in this way, when she, for so long, was able to count on herself to get where she needed to go most, and then counting on my Papa, when driving was necessary.

I honestly believe that simple is the way to go. I look around my apartment and try to think of ways I can simplify my own life. I honestly believe happiness is not found in things and by trying to find happiness in things, you are only fooling yourself. You end up with many things, but no more happiness. If anything, I am overwhelmed by clutter, which is ironic, as our apartment is truly cluttered.

I really wish I was able to talk to my Gram as a person, and not my Gram. I wonder if she was alive today, if I would have been brave enough to try and have these personal and intimate conversations with her?

I think I am going to try and remember that everyone in my life has an identity, life and personality outside of my interactions with them. Everyone really has their own battles, struggles, successes and stories. I am hopeful to try and find ways to hear people's stories and encourage those that knew my Gram to post some personal stories about her, perhaps on my Facebook page?  

I am going to strive to have a simple and happy life and work hard to remember what is truly important. I am hopeful I am able to continue to carry this with me, thanks for visiting me Gram and reminding me! 

Simple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple
'tis the gift to be free 
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, 
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

 When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right 

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say

'Tis the gift to be simple
'tis the gift to be free 
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, 
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real. 

'Tis the gift to be simple
'tis the gift to be free 
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be, 
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

And thats all she wrote....

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