This morning we went to say our final farewell to my grandmother. It was more difficult than I had anticipated.
When I got the phone call last week I wasn't surprised. She was 86, had lived a very full life and had been ailing the last several years. I wasn't overwhelmed with sadness. I was sad that she was gone. Sad for my Dad, and my cousin Michaela ( she was mostly raised by my grandmother). Perhaps I was even a little sad that I didn't have what I would consider a typical grandmother/granddaughter relationship. It's difficult to maintain a relationship with someone when you grow up feeling inferior because you were born the wrong gender. There were other issues, but this was the primary one.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with being female. I don't believe that my male cousins are somehow better than I am just because they were born male. I like being female. I like the fact that at the end of my life I'll be able to look back and remember that I was able to do things that they couldn't do. Because I am female. I gave birth to 3 beautiful children all of them over 8 lbs. These 3 children are my legacy. They are here because I met, fell in love with and married their father. But, I gave them life. It was both an amazing and painful experience. I was able to labor for hours to bring them into this world because I am female. I am female and I wouldn't change a thing.
Sitting in the second row of the chapel with my family this morning I wasn't overwhelmed.
* There was music
* Reading of Psalms
* The pastor spoke and I was okay.
* When my Dad got up and gave his eulogy. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed. Listening to him say his final goodbye to the woman who gave him life was more emotional than I had anticipated. For the first time I saw my grandmother through his eyes. How he saw her. Seen through his eyes she was an incredibly strong, fearless woman. A woman who when she walked into her kids' school the Principal and staff quivered in fear. A woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she believed in. A woman who was generous with her time and had a strong sense of responsibility. Looking through my Dad's eyes I saw a woman with a strong sense of family. I saw a woman I would have been proud to call my friend. Hearing the emotion is his voice triggered this overwhelming feeling of sadness. I didn't know this woman. I knew a different woman. One who made me more miserable than not during my childhood. I felt such sadness. Sadness that we missed having a loving relationship because of her preconceived notions of ( what felt like ) my unworthiness. I wish I had known the woman I saw through my father's eyes.