Grandmother, the Alchemist.

 

“Grandmother, the alchemist, you spun gold out of this hard life, conjured beauty from the things left behind. Found healing where it did not live. Discovered the antidote in your own kit. Broke the curse with your own two hands…’I had my ups and down, but I always found the strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”- Excerpt from Beyonce’s Lemonade.

I have to be honest, I have been avoiding completing this blog post for months. Grief is such a strange thing. There is no recipe for “How to Deal With Grief”, & despite all of the self-help books, articles, etc. the fact remains the same–people deal with grief differently. & guess what that means? You have to learn how to navigate through it in a way that works best for you. So that’s what I have been doing, & I can’t tell you that I have figured it out just yet.

My Granny passed away in March of 2016. I thought I prepared myself for her death, but I was way more unprepared than I could have ever imagined. I can’t even describe the audible sounds that escaped my body when my mother called to give me the news. I immediately felt an immense sadness, & wished that I would be able so see her one more time. Hold her hand one more time. Roll her hair or get her dressed one more time. Watch her say her prayers before bed one more time. Give her something sweet for a snack one more time.

So now almost a year later, I still have those same wishes. I often think of all of the memories I have of her & the things she taught me. I’ve picked 3 pearls to share with you.

  • My Granny taught me the importance of prayer.

When her body was able she would get on her knees & say her prayers before bed every night. No matter what time it was, no matter where she was. Sometimes, because of the disease (Alzheimer’s) she would say them over & over, but she would always pray. One of my fondest memories is just watching her pray & wondering what it was she was talking to God about. She also prayed over her meals, even if it was as simple as “Jesus wept”. But regardless of the twists & turns of her life, her relationship with God remained constant. Her faith & her dedication to Him have inspired me to be much more intentional about my walk with God.

  • My Granny taught me the true meaning of unconditional love & that it is okay to “need” it.

Unconditionally loving someone is a remarkable thing, & I truly loved my Granny. As a child, I used to think that love was based on what people did for me, what they said to me, & even how they loved me. But during the last few years of my Granny’s life, I learned that love is not subject to a condition. When you love someone, truly love someone, you just love them. There were times where my Granny was sweet, I loved her. There were times when she was not so sweet, I loved her. There were times when she needed me, I loved her. There were times where she didn’t want to be bothered, I loved her. Because I loved her, I was willing to do anything to make sure that she was happy & well taken care of. If that meant feeding her, I did it because I loved her. If that meant repeating things to her twenty times, I did it because I loved her. If that meant staying with her all day & spending endless hours in a hospital, I did it because I loved her. There were times when I would get so frustrated with the situation & the things she would do or say, but I still loved her. I would be angry, disappointed, & sometimes even annoyed…& yet my love for her never changed. There was no “if this occurs, then I love her” or “I love her when”. That’s when I realized what love was supposed to be. 

Some of the most precious memories I have are when my Granny would ask me or my mom to stay with her when it was time for us to leave. It would break my heart when she would cry & ask us not to leave her. My Granny was a strong woman, one of the strongest I know, but she still needed love. She needed us, our love, our companionship, & it was okay. I think we sometimes feel guilty for wanting other people to love us. Yes, our love for self should be sufficient; the love God has for us is always more than sufficient…but never forget that it is important to feel love from the people around us. We were made to love & getting love in return, in whatever healthy form it comes, is something that it is okay to say that you need.

  • My Granny taught me how valuable time truly is.

Time is really one of the most valuable things we have on Earth. Once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. It is so important to treat every single day as a blessing, & you have to try to make the best of every moment. There were times where I didn’t slow down to appreciate some of the little moments with my Grandmother, & a part of me probably thought that I had a little more time. But one day I didn’t, she was gone, & all I wanted was a few more moments with her. You have to be present in life. Be intentional. Show up for people & always be mindful that tomorrow isn’t promised. 

What did your Granny teach you? Grandparents are extremely special people, & I’m blessed to have been able to have time with all of mine. We learn so many life lessons from them, some that don’t even “hit” us until maybe years after they are gone. Take some time to reflect on the time you’ve spent with your grandparents or even just your grandmother. I recently wrote a letter to mine that was therapeutic in my healing process. It’s also a great way to exercise your memory & remember some things you may have forgotten. My Granny was remarkable, magical, even. There were times where I was just in awe of her & everything she was. She was beautiful, she was honest, she was loving, she was strong, she was faithful. She lived life to the fullest from beginning to end. & I am blessed to have been able to know her in such a special way. 

 

L is for Love, Pt. I

Love, is a choice.

And when we choose to love someone, we are choosing to freely give another person our heart.

The question I have been asking myself lately is: “how did I have the courage to give another person my heart, but yet he did not have the courage to give me his in return?”

So if you’re wondering–yes, I recently had my heart broken. I’ve been conflicted within myself about whether or not this was a wise choice for my third post. Is it too soon? Is it too deep? Is it too personal? It may be all of those things to some of my readers, but I decided that in order for me to heal my heart’s broken pieces, I have to talk about it.

The question you’re most likely asking now is “what happened, Anaston?” For the sake of maintaining some level of privacy I will refrain from going into too much detail, & just say this…I thought I met the true love of my life, the last few months were great & I was happy, & then one day all communication ceased. No, I don’t know why. I was given no reason, no explanation. No, nothing bad happened prior to. No, there were no signs. Weird, huh? I’m still waiting for a camera crew to come out & tell me I’ve been punked. 

I know these days it sounds rather cliché to say “I thought I met the true love of my life” & you may wonder how I came to that conclusion, but I just knew. Before all of the things happened that you do when you date a person occurred, I already knew. It was a new feeling for me, & it scared me at first, but I was elated that I found (or so I thought) the person I was supposed to walk through life with.

So my initial reaction, once I got over the immense confusion & disappointment, was to blame myself. There must have been something that I did wrong. For about a week, I blamed myself & picked apart the pieces of my entire being that I thought caused this to happen. Then, I started replaying memories & conversations trying to find the signs that I obviously missed. I came up empty-handed both times, & all I was left with was a fist full of tears.

It would have been much easier for me to be an angry, bitter, black woman on an “all men are dogs” rampage. But I’m not. Even after my first heartbreak (which happened in college), I wasn’t. And even with this being my second, I still love, love. My heart is big, & when I love, I love hard. I think that’s okay. Even though this has been difficult to deal with, deep down I am thankful for the privilege & experience. I am thankful that I was given the chance to give love to another person, contribute positively to his life, & be shown that (despite the ending) good men do exist. I was given effort that matched mine, & someone who made me laugh like it was another language. It was a blessing, & I will learn from the experience.

My dating life has not been the best, honestly. But I guess the plus side is that it has never been dull. I’ve only been in two “official” relationships in my adult life, & obviously neither one has worked out in my favor. I’ve also found myself in a series of situation-ships that never quite make it to a relationship. Throughout each relationship (even the situation-ships are literal relationships) I have had to decide what I value in a partner. There are times when I have settled just to have someone. There were times when I stayed in a “relationship” way too long & allowed myself to be abused, misused, disrespected, & taken for granted. There were times when I embarrassed myself, disrespected myself, & even lashed out physically. It has taken a lot of self-reflection & prayer to get me to a place where I am okay with my “exes” & the relationships I had with them. I am not ashamed, & I have learned so much, that I believe will make me a great wife one day.

Have you ever had your heart-broken? What did you do to pick up the pieces? We all go through different kinds of heart breaks, & it is important that we put our hearts back together again. It is so easy to let the loss change you in a way that does not serve you. It is easy to become angry, bitter, resentful, but the only person you are hurting is you. You have to let it hurt for a little while & then start the healing process. Ask God to heal whats been hurt & to give you the strength to remain open. Don’t give up on love, or let the world we live in convince you that it’s not out there. It is, & it will find you. Stay the course.

“I have been hurt so bad and I still love so hard. I admire my heart for that.”  x Alex Elle