Today is the 5th anniversary of my grandma’s passing. To honor her memory, I decided to share a few “knowledge nuggets” from her over the years that have helped me get through this thing called life.
For anyone who knows me personally, they know the impact she had in my life. For those who don’t, she and my mother raised me. My mother died when I was 14, and after that I lived with my grandma. By that time she was a rapidly aging senior. She was my world for many years and from then until her death, I made decisions for myself and for her.
She always said she just wanted to be able to see me graduate college. She put a lot of pressure on me to be done in 4 years (I did in 4.5, and graduated on her last birthday), but looking back, I have a deeper understanding of what was behind that pressure. Her death propelled me to grow up even faster and while I miss her every single day, I am so happy that I had her for as long as I did and happy that she is now “asleep,” as she would call it.
There are so many more lessons she taught me, but the five below are the ones that have risen to the top.
Be kind, and be a lady.
My grandma taught me that kindness is always the best policy. Heard of the phrase “You get more flies with honey”? That’s exactly it. Being a lady goes across the board, from how you speak to how you carry yourself. My grandma taught me to fight fair and not to go for the jugular (still working on that and she was too), and to treat others how I wanted to be treated. From an etiquette perspective, little rules were drilled in my head as she made me polish her silver (yes, at age 3 I was doing this – and loved that she would even trust me to do so): Put your napkin on your lap. Hold your knees together when you sit down. Say please and thank you. Say “yes” and not yeah. Keep your nails clean. Have a signature scent. Respect others and yourself.
Don’t be a “yes” person.
So what does that mean? It means don’t be a doormat. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t just go along with the okie-doke. It also means don’t be a follower; be a leader. I remember as a kid there were periods of time when I was highly influenced by others. My grandma quickly corrected my way of thinking by pointing out all of the great qualities I possessed and why being unique and doing the things I liked was better than going along with the crowd for the sake of doing so. It was sound advice that carried me through my youth, and has an even deeper meaning to me as a woman in my late 20’s.
Take care of your body, especially your feet.
I laughed. I really did with this one. Until I didn’t take care of my body, and I didn’t take care of my feet and I ended up in bad shape. Taking care of your body goes beyond eating and drinking well. It involves keeping your skin in optimum condition (exfoliate and moisturize), and also getting enough rest. When you don’t treat your body right, you don’t feel good – physically, mentally, or emotionally. Now you’re probably wondering about the feet thing. Well, my grandma always complained about her feet. I think part of it was from her having a narrow foot and wearing bad shoes back in the day, and in later times because of her neuropathy. Feet are a tough one. You don’t realize how bad off you are until something happens. In 2014, I was diagnosed with a condition called sesamoiditis, which took me a year to get fully healed from. I couldn’t wear any of the cute shoes you see on the blog (yes, I just put them on for the pictures), and couldn’t partake in the Dailey Method classes I enjoyed so much, run or hike. It really depressed me and I started comforting myself with food for a little while. Wearing cute shoes is just going to be something that doesn’t go away with me, but I am so much better about stretching my feet, wearing inserts, and wearing lower heels when I need to. I also drink a lot of water, make better choices concerning my diet, and drink less alcohol. 🙂
If you don’t like your job, find another one.
This piece of advice came to me as she laid in a bed that she never got out of again. It was two days before she died and I was frustrated with where I had landed after college. Looking back, it was more of a growing pain and adjusting to the real world, but as I was talking, she turned her head toward the window, and said the above in a tone that put a lump in my throat. Here’s a woman who had been working since age 12 until retiring in her 60’s – and I mean labor, and there she was at 86, facing death, telling me this! Life is short. Find another job.
Don’t get mad at the girl
While I never divulged everything to her, my grandma got a pretty good dose of my life and dating was no exception. I mean, she was my best friend, and yes, sometimes we talked on the phone at 1am! Sometimes things just don’t work out in relationships, and sometimes it’s because of someone else in your partner’s life. It’s easy to blame the person who has caught their eye, but honestly, it ain’t her fault. Take a look at your situation from the outside. Was it truly as picture perfect as you would’ve liked to believe? Did you find yourself settling, and just didn’t want to be the first to move on? You can’t take someone who wanted to leave, so, don’t blame the woman!
And one thing she never said, but is important and a nod to the blog: Don’t leave the house without lipstick.
While the words didn’t come out of her mouth, she never left the house without it. The more orange, the better! She would wear lipstick to church, to a meeting, to a doctor’s appointment and even to get the mail! The last memory I have of my grandma in her house is her leaving on a gurney, me putting on her hairpiece (don’t you dare call it a wig) and her saying, “Kachet, will you hand me my lipstick?” My grandma had a standard to uphold, and no matter what life threw at her, she was going to face it her way.
To my best friend and biggest supporter – thank you for raising me to be a strong, resilient, bold and compassionate woman. I owe you everything.
What is some of the advice a grandparent gave you that stuck with you?
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