Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers! Today is a National holiday and a time to reflect on all the people and circumstances in our lives for which we are thankful. Our family has a special reason to celebrate today. This morning at 1am our Grandma passed away. Grandma was almost 101 years old.
As an in-law I have a unique perspective on how this incredible lady has influenced three generations of our family. A few nights ago I sat down and wrote about a few life lessons Grandma taught me over the past ten years. I have a hard time expressing how this amazing woman has passed on her spirit to the females in our family. Here is Grandma as I knew her;
Grandma Balfour’s life is a not only to be remembered and celebrated, but a life to aspire to duplicate. I only had the honour of knowing this remarkable woman for the past 10 years; but in that time she has taught me many very valuable lessons. In her own, quiet way, these are the life lessons that Velva Balfour has taught me;
- “Everything is going to be alright”: No matter what was happening, Grandma always encouraged you to not waste time worrying. She did not waste time worrying because she was always sure that life would always turn out alright. As society gets busier and more stressful, I need to remember Grandma’s words of advice, because in the end, everything does turn out to be alright. I just need to have more faith in the end result; more faith like Grandma had.
- “You’re alright”: Grandma always saw the good in people. She always thought that those who visited her were pretty and wore pretty clothes. I truly think that if more people wore rose-coloured glasses like Grandma did, the world would be a much happier place. Grandma always saw the positive. And she always made a point to make you feel good. I don’t think I ever heard her complain; not in pain, or discomfort, not about anything. Life to her was good, and even if a moment of it was not as good as it could have been, well she would say, “It’s ok, everything is going to be alright!”
- Human touch is important: Grandma always liked to pat, or hold your hand. She loved contact with those who she loved, even if she did not recognize them. I don’t know who felt better when she did this, her or the person whose hand she was holding and patting. If it was not a person then you could find her petting an animal; real or stuffed. We all need contact; physical contact. Too many people are afraid of a loving touch. Grandma reminded me that much like a smile, holding hands or rubbing someone’s arm makes both people feel appreciated, valued, and loved.
I think the most important lesson that Grandma Balfour has taught me is that I am so incredibly lucky to be part of her legacy; her family. This kind, selfless, loving, gentle, soft-spoken woman led this family by example. She has taught each female in this family how to be a most amazing, woman, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, and mother. I listen to so many stories from others in this family and I don’t know if they realize just how much of who they are comes directly from Grandma. Mom is so kind, and welcoming, caring, and will do anything to support her family. She puts her family first before herself; all just like her own Mom. She encourages, and uplifts us and reminds us that “Everything is going to be alright” when we are going through something difficult; just like Grandma. Mom is also always reminding us of how much she loves us, with hugs and words; just like her Mom.
I see Grandma’s grand-daughters; always there to help in any way they can in any situation. They are caretakers to their families, just as Grandma was for Mom and Uncle Larry when they were young. They too constantly express their feelings to loved ones. Their children will never, ever, wonder about their mother’s unconditional love for them; just as Grandma always expressed her unconditional love to them. They have gentle, loving hearts like their Grandma. I really don’t think they realize just how much Grandma Balfour has helped to shape who they are. I see her in each one of them and I see her in Mom too. If Grandma was able to (and I know she will be when she is in Heaven) see what I see, she would be so incredibly proud of not only her daughter, but her grand-daughters as well. From one incredibly amazing woman, has come, generations of caring, loving, women, who will continue to foster her loving traits into their children. I already see this in Grandma’s great-grandchildren.
I guess Grandma Balfour has taught me that because of who she was, the world, especially my world, is a much better place. I will aspire to live the rest of my life more like her; full of love for everyone, without judgement, just love.
You are right Grandma; everything is going to be alright. Thanks to you.