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photo by Brenda Fredericks

I woke up in the middle of the night and my body was warm and still in my bed.

My hand was on my heart.

I had a deeply vivid feeling of my grandma. The essence of her love filled my body and I felt her inside and all throughout me. The feeling was deep in my belly, in my core. It felt light and still, bouyant yet solid.

It was so clear and so real, so visceral in my body.

Pure Love. What a gift to feel that this depth of love exists. It’s what we are, pure love. Everything else is contrast.

I took care of my grandma until she died at almost 93. She was a second mother to me. I wear the diamond ring she gave me every day — it never comes off, so she is always with me. Always.

When I was a child, I learned about loving kindness through the tuna sandwiches she made my sister and I every time we visited. There was chocolate milk, green olives and a half sour pickle on the side. The sandwich was cut diagonally.

She taught me boundaries and limits. We were given one Hershey bar after dinner, never more, even when I asked. I was never allowed to drink the olive juice during those lunches because she thought it was bad for me. Sometimes I would sneak a spoonful.

I learned about how to receive graciously. She sat me down after receiving a gift and I was required to write a thank you note. She helped me with what to say, taught me how to address the envelope, gave me a stamp and then she always mailed it for me. She kept all her addresses on index cards in a metal recipe box on her kitchen counter. Some were scribbled out multiple times over the years.

I learned about hosting a traditional holiday dinner with ease and grace. Rosh Hashanah and Passover were special events. We got dressed up, and she served beautifully after planning and cooking for days. She always hired help for the kitchen. Gladys would serve the soup and then clean up at the end. That made it possible for her to sit down and enjoy her family.

I learned about generosity and service by watching her devotion to Hadassah. She donated her time and money graciously. When she stepped down from being Treasurer in her late 80's, it took four women to do the job she effortlessly did on her own.

When I took care of her at the end of her life, I learned about compassion. I learned to go slowly, and listen. I held her hand and played Bing Crosby songs for her. One time I crawled in to bed with her and we just laid there, together.

I learned organization and preparedness through her death. That woman had her entire funeral planned and paid for. She had been telling me for years what to do when her hundred years were up, and where to find the ring I now wear every day. Everything was taken care of, except the limo. If you want a limo, you can pay for it yourself, she used to say.

I don’t know how my grandma did it at the end. She lost all the people she spent her life with — my grandpa, her sister and brothers, her parents, each and every one of her friends and the worst, my father. She lost her son to suicide. I swear I don’t know how she did life after that. But she did.

We did it together. Once a month we went to a Suicide Survivor’s support group. It was very helpful and it kept us grounded and together during an extremely hard time.

She always said when her hundred years were up, she was going to give my father a piece of her mind. I really hope she did.

People always say grandmas are special, and how true it is. It almost seems trite to say it that way.

How do I transmit the depth of impact and love another human has on my life? How do I transmit the feeling of pure, deep, solid white love that I feel in my body when I tune into her?

I don’t know.

She is inside me though, teaching me still.

Teaching me about pure eternal love. It feels beautiful and expansive, more than my wildest dreams, more than I ever thought possible.

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Written by

Coach & Writer. Musings on being a woman, creator of Body Love, alchemist, mother, brendafredericks.com

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