Louise Wismer, my grandmother, passed away last Thursday (April 5, 2012), at the age of 85. And, to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. When I had first heard about her death, I was sad and angry at the same time. I wanted to rush to my computer and start typing away in the blog to get my thoughts out. Instead, I took a step back, and thought about what I really wanted to say. Before I get bombarded with condolences, please allow me to explain.
I always believed that my grandmother and I had a very close, loving relationship. I would stay and her and my grandpa’s house almost every summer when I was a kid. They would take me on small trips, my grandpa would teach me how to oil paint on canvas, and I would help her cook dinners. My grandmother was at every orchestra concert that I was in during school (I played the violin), every church event I was a part of, and we celebrated holidays at her house. So, it’s safe to say that she had an active role in my upbringing. She and my grandpa would always tell me how proud I made them, and how much they loved me. I had no reason to question this.
This woman was extremely independent, never complained about any problems she may have had, kept busy and up to date with modern technology (we would chat on AIM for god sake). The woman worked until she was 83! With that being said, I have come to realize something over the years…everything changes. It’s inevitable. In 2007, my paw paw, and her husband of sixty plus years, passed away. That was the first time I had ever seen her cry. I couldn’t image losing someone who was that close to you. And, as to be expected, she changed a bit. Her sadness was evident. My aunts and the rest of the family made sure she was never really alone or ever bored. I would call her several times a week as well to chat with her and keep her up to date on whatever I was doing. Her spirits did lift a bit for a while.
Then BAM! My mom, her daughter, passes away in December of 2010. And from then on, I didn’t know who she was. I’m going to tell you right now, death can bring out the best or worst in people. Unfortunately, I experienced the latter. There was a LOT of drama following my mother’s death, and most of which was my grandmother’s doing. I go in specific detail about those events in THIS blog entry. When my mom died, I was nine months into my yoga practice and was ridding my life of negativity. My aunts and my grandmother were a part of my cleansing, my healing. As much as I loved my family, I refused to be around such hatred; It wasn’t healthy for me. How could one word tear a family apart? But, it did. I haven’t spoken to my aunts for a year and a half now. And, as of a few days ago, I will never be able to speak to my grandmother again. It’s not that I never tried to reconcile, it’s just that she wasn’t interested.
My life has changed so much, for the better, over the past year and a half. I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been and I’m surrounded by people who love me. I couldn’t imagine harboring such anger towards someone, and a family member no less, until my death. I never want to know what that feels like. I have forgiven my aunts long ago for their actions, and I hope they can find happiness in their lives. We would have never known my grandmother died, had my dad not looked in the paper and saw her obituary. No one even called us.
After sharing this news with my yoga teacher, she told me something that I really liked. “I understand your anger, my friend. They aren’t evil. They have hurt you and your family. Think of them as wayward children who are lost and don’t know to find their way. You are on your path of love and forgiveness. Forgive them and send them peace; It’s the best work we can do.” I have forgiven them.
I know my grandmother still loves me and is proud that I’m her grandson. I truly hope that she is finally happy and at peace. I do miss her.
I love you maw maw!
“It’s easy to forgive someone who deserves it. However, it’s not as easy to forgive someone who has harmed you in some way. But, we need to try, as they are the ones who need it the most.” ~ JOHN FRIEND