Gratitude for our Grandmothers


I believe that it is vital to our wellbeing to give gratitude to our ancestors, especially our grandmothers. Our DNA was alive in their bodies when they were new born. Everything that they endured, we also endure. Grandmothers are story-keepers. They value connection and pride themselves on passing on knowledge from one generation to the next. 

It was recently the 3 year anniversary since my paternal grandmother passed away. As I go deeper into the ancestral healing journey, I feel her presence grow and grow. A few years before she passed she wanted to throw a family reunion. During this gathering she expressed her anxiety about the stories she had not yet passed down to future generations. It saddened her greatly to think that much of her history would be lost. This was compounded by her Parkinson's, which caused her to loose her voice. 

I have since made an effort to communicate with her spirit on a regular basis. The photo featured here is an example of a way that I commune with her spirit. Her favorite flower is Queen Ann's Lace. It was in full bloom around the anniversary of her passing. I was feeling very sad on this particular day and knew that I had to do a portrait in her memory. I wanted to channel the feeling in which her passing embodied, a leap of faith.

Bellow is the message that comes to me when I medidate on this image and what it means to me:

I do not hide on the edge of yesterday, waiting for a new day to arise. I fly, as you did, when we said our goodbyes.

There was such solace in the air, as you departed. Little was left of your wild flesh as you had been preparing yourself for the journey home, waiting for the last breath with a profound patience that escaped most of us. 

But I see you still, on the edge of life, with one foot in this world and another in the next. You knew that one cycle was complete and that another was about to begin. There was fear but you conquered that too. 

I wasn't there when you called a family meeting and gave 30 white roses to your niece, in an effort to heal the trauma she endured at the hands of your brother. I wish I had been witness to such a deep family healing ceremony, but I trust that you are teaching me your ways, still.

I am a piece of your wildness, walking barefooted along the path you made across the land. I am picking up where you left off, at least I hope that I am. Thank you for visiting me and giving me strength when I need it. I know you are in me, I know that you are guiding me, I know that I am finding my way because of you.

Jen Holden