In just four years, I’ve lost my three grandparents. This month, my sweet Grandma Cim passed and I felt she deserved a post dedicated to her strength and resiliency through hardship.
How many of us get really crabby when we’re sick? We snap at our partners, we lay there and feel sorry for ourselves?
My grandmother has been dealing with serious health problems since the 90’s with very little complaint. For almost thirty years she suffered from multiple sclerosis, chronic hernias, a brain tumour, a broken hip, a broken shoulder, and more. She fought to maintain her mobility but was finally forced to the confines of a wheelchair after many, many debilitating falls. And yet through all this, she remained positive, sweet and kind.
She would thank her nurses constantly and apologize when she needed their help. She was obsessed with crafts and spent her time making beaded necklace, bracelets, and earrings and then gave them away to the staff and residents at whichever home or rehabilitation centre was.
At no point during these hard years did she grow bitter or angry. What better example for her kids and grandkids is that? I always thought my German Grandma was the “tough Grandma” but Grandma Cim had a quiet and loving strength that you don’t see very often.
I’ve always been a positive person and I it took her passing for me to realize where I got this positive attitude from.
She also helped mould who I was with some very important life lessons including;
How to Match Clothing
I grew up in the late 80s/early 90s which was a time of bright neon and radical patterns. As the oldest, I was fiercely independent and dressed myself. My mother had several younger kids to deal with so as long as my clothes were clean and in good condition, she let me go to school in whatever I put on.
My fancy Grandma couldn’t take it and decided that I needed a lesson on how to mix and match. She cute out outfits from Vogue magazine and we did a couple lessons together where she taught me not to mix prints, how to match colours, and how to put together an outfit.
Even now as an adult where I see fashion trends suggesting mixing prints, I am completely incapable of doing so because Grandma said not to.
Look Your Best at All Times
Even though she was raised a cowgirl on a ranch in Colorado, you would think my Grandma was a southern lady the way she stressed appearance. All the way to the end, she coloured her hair red, wore make up every day, accessorized her outfits with her homemade jewelry, and kept her nails painted.
Her example trickled down to my mom who would never go out if public “without a face on” and now my sisters and I are the same way. I’m the most relaxed of us all, after all, who wears a full face of makeup hiking? But never less, I always schedule an extra 20-25 minutes into my mornings to ensure I ‘put on a face’ before going out in public.
Ladies Never Spit
Oh man this is a gross one and I still adhere to it (to a point). When I was little Grandma told me ladies never spit and I swallowed a lot of phlegm for years. I finally broke that rule during a particularly hard track workout in high school. I felt bad for breaking her rule, but it just had to be done. Since then, I allow myself to spit privately, but would never do it in public!
Always Point Your Toes
Grandma was also a dancer and I remember telling her to watch me go down the slide. As I sat poised at the top she said “Point your toes!” I didn’t know what she meant, so she explained to me how to do it and that everything we do looks prettier when our toes are pointed and I made a point to do so every time after that.
Learning how to do this came in really handy during gymnastics and cheerleading where many girls struggle with this newly learned physical skill. Even today I struggle in yoga where they always emphasize a flexed foot, because I naturally default to pointed toes.
As I said, I took away a huge life lesson about strength and positivity from her, but I do cherish these silly, little lessons.
So much of who I am today is shaped by the people who helped raise me and my Grandparents played a large role in that. We can only hope that when our time comes that we can look back and reflect on the good we did and the joy we spread in this world.
Love you Grandma!