My Grandmother Just Passed Away

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

It’s been one year ago today

…that my mom passed away.  People keep asking me, “How are you feeling about it?”, or “Are you going to be okay?” In all honesty, I’m completely fine. It’s because I’m happy with every decision I’ve made over the past year or so. I also have a genuine group of friends out here on the west coast that I can confide in, and who support me. When my mom died, everything seemed to change. The way I look at life, my relationship with others shifted, I was able to see people as they truly were; all of these things happened very quickly after my mom passed.

When my mother was alive, my family consisted of my dad, sister, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, grandmother and 1 cousin; this are my immediate relatives. The people who I call “family” after my mother died, are my dad and my sister. My mother was diagnosed with MS in 1998, and had been confined to a bed for the last 6yrs of her life. So, her death was a surprise at the time, but we knew the path she was on. I was extremely sad, but at the same time, happy that she wasn’t in the bed anymore.  Allow me to explain.

The evening my mom died, I was in Las Vegas and everyone else was in Beaumont, Tx. I called my dad sobbing and asked him if he and my sister were able to hold off the funeral for a week. I was going out of the country for the first time and my mother was so happy that I was going. He said, “Yes, of course. It’s okay with me and your sister. We’ll have the funeral when you get back and you can fly down.” Perfect!   The next morning after I got out of yoga class, I have numerous texts/phone calls from my aunts and my sister. I called Jesika (my sister) and she told me, “Maw maw just called me and said, ‘If you hold us hostage with this funeral, we’re never speaking to you again and you’re out of the family'” I can’t BEGIN to tell you how angry I became. I then called my aunt Jeanette and spoke to her because the other two women wouldn’t answer their phones. She began to lecture me on how this was not my decision; who am I to tell them, who am I to say, etc….

Okay, it had been less than 24hrs since my mom died. MAYBE it was a little insensitive of me to have everyone waiting; I wasn’t thinking clearly. So, I told her, “Have your funeral, do what you need to do. Because, I’m not going to see my mother in some box.” Even after I told her this, she kept trying to pester me about how wrong I was and that I should be showing more support to them, etc.  So I told her, “Jeanette, Shut UP! Shut the FUCK up! This is not about you!”.  She then quickly hung up on me. That was the last time I spoke to either aunt.

My grandmother told me how disappointed in me they all were and they weren’t sure if they could forgive me for such an outrageous comment. They all tried to make me feel bad that I wasn’t sobbing my eyes out nonstop like they were. They didn’t understand that I had already made peace with everything, and that it wasn’t out of disrespect. They didn’t get it. I don’t regret cursing at my aunt because I did nothing wrong. I had strong emotions, and I expressed them. It was weird how they made my mother’s death about them. They never once asked how my sister and I were doing. Not once. After the funeral, apparently they had their own gathering at my grandmother’s house and left my dad, the widower, at his home with 3 other people. But, I was the disrespectful one.

Death can bring out the worst in people sometimes, and people will show their true colors. Just you wait! I can honestly say that I am no longer angry with these women anymore. I haven’t spoken to them for a year now. I still wish them well, but no longer call them my family. Relatives or not, I made a decision a long time ago to not surround myself with negative/bad people. And you shouldn’t either! They’ll only bring you down.

Family doesn’t just have to be blood relatives. I have friends who know the real me more than my relatives ever did. And, for that, I am grateful.

I love you mom, dad and Jes. And the rest of you….You know who you are!




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The not so Happy Holidays, pt 1

As the holidays approach, I can’t help but wonder what they will bring. Because as of last year, they will never be the same.  By the beginning of last December, I was deep into my Anusara practice. It was month number eight; the way I looked at everything seemed to be shifting. I didn’t get as angry or upset over things that I couldn’t control. When I look at things or situations, I try to see the good in them; opposed to the bad. Believe me, it makes your stress level go way down and makes things much easier. “Everything happens for a reason” isn’t my favorite saying, but it was ironic the way everything presented itself last year. After the end of my relationship, I was built back up with my Anusara practice. Which, I believe was to mentally prepare myself for all of the life altering changes that came about in December.

In October, I made a conscious decision to move back to Los Angeles by January 2011.  My contract at work would be ending December 15th and there were few jobs around town. So, I decided to move. I would be leaving behind my house that I purchased in 2008, relationship memories, friends, Karen, and my new Anusara family. But, the feeling of uneasiness from living in Las Vegas was stronger than my will to stay. My friend and I had a trip planned to The Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu  earlier in the year. We planned to go during the week of Christmas just to get out of our space, and end 2010 on a happy note. Throughout November and December, I was still doing about 5 or 6 yoga classes a week. I was trying to prepare myself for the loss of my job, the move back to Los Angeles, and my first trip out of the country. Everything seemed to be on a deadline or a rush to the situation. I was starting to stress out, but tried my best to not get overwhelmed. I knew I was going to be losing a lot within the upcoming months. But, there was one loss that I had not anticipated.

The loss of my mother.