As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I pause in memory of my grandmother. More than 76 years ago, my grandmother had to step away from an engagement to a man that was more than 30 years her senior, aloof, cold, a miser, and poor husband material. Because he had wealth, and land, her grandmother believed that she was providing her with a secure future.
My grandmother was 25 years old and pregnant after he had forced himself on her. She found the courage to break off the engagement and leave the relationship, vowing to raise her child on her own.
She made this difficult to be a single mother in a time when single motherhood was a disgrace. She concentrated on educating herself and became a seamstress, musician, and midwife.
Where did she find the courage, wit, and perseverance, you might ask. It came from a deep sense of knowing who she was, of clear values that assured her that she was not to settle for an abusive relationship with a husband that couldn’t love her as she deserved. It came from a deep sense of spirituality, confidence in her ability to take care of herself, her child, and her old grandmother.
She made the brave decision that women have had to make for centuries, to nourish and elevate their spiritual self for personal and professional success. Men have for centuries sought ways to keep women quiet, submissive, passive, and without a voice.
She developed herself as a pillar in her community. She was the midwife who delivered your baby, the seamstress who made your wedding dress, or your funeral shroud, the choir leader at the local church, and the pianist, sometimes playing for more than one church on a Sunday. She was industrious, fierce, ambitious, funny, and a caretaker of others.
She raise eleven children of her own and four grandchildren, as my siblings and I were the oldest grandchildren we spent most of our formative years being cared for by my grandmother.
A few years later, she met and married her husband and had ten children with him and they were married for almost sixty years. She lived a full life and everyone respected and loved my grandmother. She could always be counted on to help, offer a solution or to champion a cause.
It was surprising that though she had more children than most would want, she also mentored other relatives and adopted three other children even. She seemed always to have more to give. She full bt balanced life based on principles of spirituality, self-mastery, engagement, innovation, and resilience.
As you reflect on what this day means to you, think of the women who brought meaning and purpose to your life.
Last night we watched Megan Merkle find her voice and use it to defend herself and her family. To tell her side of a story that has hunted her and her child for years. As we struggle with issues of class, race, and gender, women need to nourish and elevate each other so we are banded together to face the challenges of life when they come as they may. We are women, let’s roar today and always.
To Your Wellness