"Heaven has a road, but no one travels it; Hell has no gate, but men will bore through to get there."

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Sometimes, family is the most complicated thing.
Those you love- and admire- them most of all, have many contradicting qualities and motivations. The great ones provide some over-arching and powerful touchstone that defies any anger we might focus on them aroused by external circumstances.
My grandmother Pearl was such a person...
Inspiring, and indestructible in her absolute belief that she could be good and foster that in others.
She died a couple years back at 97- having lived through almost a century... Kansas farm girl, one of eleven children, Depression survivor, two World Wars, Eisenhower, Kennedy, television and our modern age. She survived my mother by almost twenty years and was my source of strength and yes- wisdom too.
Iconic would be a fitting word, but she would not understand it. She was simple, powerful.
Familiar freinds and foes alike were caught off-guard by their inability to understand and therefore ultimately appreciate her humanity. I was too.
After her funeral, my cousin found a note she had written thirty years before that provided a key to her understanding of herself and of her frailty/humanity for us. It is now a treasured document. She wrote it while going through a bitter divorce that stripped her of a tremendous amount of pride. Her knowledge of that fact makes me proud every time I read it:

January 4, 1974

To Whom It May Concern,

I am guilty of-
Loving my children and my grandchildren too much-
Being too clean in my house and my person-
Loving flowers and gardening too much...
Although I did so enjoy brightening the little corner of my world,
And was told by many passersby and neighbors how they enjoyed it also.
Working too hard and expecting others to do the same, having been taught
'Idleness breeds mischief.'
Wanting to share and enjoy my children and grandchildren's joys and sorrows
With no intention of meddling or hurting.
Loving to give for the sheer joy of it-
My main reason for working outside the home.
Most of all trying to live as God would have me live, of course,
Falling short many times.
Love You-
Mother & Grandmother Pearl

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