I write to you all. To my two living grandmothers: Jacqueline and Carol, mothers of my mother and father. And to my Great Grandmothers who have passed on: Smithy, Ethel, Eva, Clara, and to all the great-great grandmothers I have never met. To the grandmothers that stretch back generation to generation, all the grandmothers who connect me to the circle of womanhood and humanity since the beginning of time.
I am writing to tell you that I miss your voices around the fire, sitting with the young ones and telling stories, and cooking and quilting with your beautifully worn and sunned hands, and sitting in silence with the strength and beauty of a mountain. I am writing to tell you that I wish I grew up with you, day to day, that I long to hear the wisdom you have in your being, the stories, the recipes, the secrets that your mothers passed on to you.
I write to tell you that I have been ignorant in discounting the sacred wisdom that you hold in your bones from living year through year in these times of deep change. I write to tell you that we all need the wisdom of our elders, so that we can remember, so that we can choose not to forget. These times are so turbulent and uncertain. Here we are on a course towards an unknown future, amidst an explosion of technology and individualization, and our modern ways tell us to forget the wisdom of our grandmothers, to look to the young ones, the fast ones, the new ideas. They tell us to put you in homes and visit you every once in awhile, they tell us to work, work, work until we are no longer useful and then we too, separated from the new generations, await an end in a lonely institution, cared for by strangers, able so easily to lose our minds because we have no one to share our stories, our recipes, and our wisdom with.
I am writing to tell you, enough is enough. I need your wisdom, I love it, I value it, and I respect it. I am listening. I am ready to look towards you. I am ready to admit that I do not know it all and I need the shelter of your arms and the beauty in your heart. I want to learn from you, wise elder women, so that I may someday become one of you: surrounded by family and the new generations, each wrinkle speaking of generosity, each crease a smile from years past. So stand in your glorious wisdom, share your knowledge, and the secrets of love and of loss, I am ready to listen.
With Love Always,
Photo Credit: Madeline Merritt