Dear Grammy,

As we packed up your home, there were reminders sprinkled everywhere of your dedication to the love you had for your family, as well as challenges in your overall well-being that put love to the test. 

It was therapeutic to take care of your belongings. The work helped me process the unresolved feelings I had, not being able to do the same for my mom’s home just over a year ago. 

Every time I came across certain things, I wanted to stop and sit in the memories, immersing myself and our family back into them like they were coming to life in my mind. I couldn’t do that with my mom’s stuff because the circumstances were different. 

If I have my math right, I made you a grandmother at my current age. As I think about this, I feel my connection deepen to you more. I wonder what it was like for you at the age of 42 to welcome a granddaughter. 

At 42, I’m a mother of two young, beautiful souls. You were so active in your grandchildren’s young lives – you had so much life and energy to offer us. 

At 42, you welcomed me into this world. At 42, I’m saying goodbye.

I think this is where our maternal lives reveal a deeply rooted connection. 

For both of us, our parent-child relationships were conflicting and we desperately craved resolve. Me with my mother, and you with your children. 

For both of us, we believed that if we couldn’t repair that relationship, we could do better or be better with others. Me with my children, and you with your grandchildren.

For both of us, our parent-child relationships never healed while on earth. And for both of us, our inner wounds kept us from that healing.

For me, I truly believed if I could just mutter the words, I forgive you, to my mom, the healing process would start. Maybe we could have some normalcy as mother and daughter in this lifetime. Just weeks before her death, I began preparing for this conservation. And then, I ran out of time.  

For you, your mental and emotional well-being suffered, impacting your most treasured relationships. Just like my mother, you, too, desperately wanted the love of your children, but in both cases, you clung to the pain, not knowing how to forgive others and yourselves, and move on with love. On the outside, you doted on your grandchildren in order to fill your cup. These are the memories we will hold onto in your honor. 

I choose to honor not only your memories, but also the lessons I’ve learned from you and my mother on a soul level. These symbolic lessons are shared between the two of you, and I want to describe two. They have revealed to me that some relationships, although challenging and sometimes painful, can offer the best lessons and create an entry point for a journey of healing.

  1. Forgive and love yourself unconditionally. By the grace of God, we are loved and have been forgiven. As humans, we allow our harsh thoughts to dictate whether or not we are deserving of this love and forgiveness. The battle of the mind can easily get out of hand if you let it. Returning to love may start by forgiving yourself and giving yourself grace. What you think becomes your beliefs and reflects in your behaviors and actions. If you want to live the life you deserve, full of love, it starts with how you treat yourself inside your mind.
  1. Things take up unnecessary energy. How we love ourselves and each other is our higher purpose. We come into this world loved and we return in spirit to love. Material things not only take up physical space, but can use up our mental, emotional, and spiritual space or energy. While having some items hold sentimental value, having things to have them or to fill an emotional void isn’t the way to live. Instead it separates us further from Divine light and love. We must be mindful of how our energy will best serve us and our lives.

There are definitely more lessons. Sometimes the circumstances, situations or relationships we experience give us the chance to re-evaluate our lives, looking within to find resolve and peace. 

I’ve been wondering if your spirit met my mother right away when you entered the heavenly realm. Since your passing, I’ve felt mom’s presence with me and saw signs from her letting me know that she was with me in my grief. This week, I’ve seen signs from Pap, too, and I’m sure I’m not the only one he’s surrounding with comfort and love. (Some might call me crazy, but I call myself open and observant)

Although I’m not able to say goodbye to your physical body, I am thankful that my memories live with the version of you all dolled up. Besides, now I can talk with you any time, anywhere. And this time, you’ll be spiritually present with unconditional love not only for me and everyone here, but for yourself in the most complete way we are all supposed to experience love on earth. You just happen to be experiencing it now in spirit.

Now the hard work begins for all of us while our spirits live out this life on earth. Find healing amidst the good and bad memories. Invite strength and practice forgiveness. Release the anger, resentment, bitterness, whatever it may be for those feeling pain. Return to pure love and peace by doing the inner work. 

But how? How do you let go of those challenging feelings? I stand here as an example that it can be done. It took a year of excavation, uncovering and uprooting my emotional and spiritual foundation. Then rebuilding one based upon love. You all can do the work. You all can release the terrible feelings while still validating the ones attached to your memories. 

When someone dies who caused you pain, you may not have gotten the apology you deserved. But you can still seek forgiveness for the part you played in the relationship. With that I mean harboring or expressing anger, blame, resentment or other low feelings you felt or projected onto the person causing you pain or onto your family and friends as a consequence of your pain. Those feelings are far from love, they embody your pain. And when in pain, it can flow freely from us like poison.

Forgiveness is not for the other person. Forgiveness is for you. 

We all have a choice to make now. Continue allowing any ill-memories to wreak havoc on our mental, emotional, and spiritual journeys. Or seek healing and free ourselves and honor what was rooted in love. 

Love, Jessica