Friday, May 20, 2016


I recently received a beautiful, feather-light wool scarf handed down to me from my grandmother. In my silly way of thinking, this scarf is a talisman of strength, infused with some kind of hidden energy.

Grandmother is an extraordinarily strong woman. At 97, her body is failing (which greatly frustrates her still vigorous mind), but she lacks no strength of will. This is a sad, difficult season for a woman who has long made her own way in the world for so long. It is a sad, difficult season for those close to her, too.

So, back to the scarf...

Life sometimes throws hard stuff at us. Sometimes, we wonder where we will find the strength or means to carry on for one more day. How do we endure the trials and tragedies that knock the wind and the will out of us? How do we find strength to breathe and to simply take the next step while struggling with broken bodies and broken relationships?

Babies often have "lovies" with which to soothe themselves - a favorite teddy, a scrap of love-worn blanket, mother's hair, combed with little fingers.

I have lovies, too. I have a necklace given to me by my paternal grandmother. I don't wear it often - not much occasion to wear such finery in my fold-the-laundry, mop-the-floor day-to-day life - but it is a comfort, tucked away in its little box like an I-love-you rosary. Over the years, when I have felt particularly discouraged or overwhelmed, Mer's necklace has served as a reminder that women before me have weathered difficult times and come out on the other side strong, beautiful, and very much alive. A bit of Mer's blood runs in my veins. That thought encourages me.

And now I have Grandmother's scarf. Whatever else can be said about Grandmother, she is a strong woman. I don't have much occasion to wear her beautiful scarf, but I like to unfold it and drink in its beautiful texture and colors. Remembering that this woman's blood also runs in my veins encourages me.

I a daughter of strong women. And I am thankful.

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