The word grandmother usually connotes a plump woman, a house full of nick knacks, and big family dinners. Not my grandmother. She was a mystic and healer who unwittingly prepared me more directly for my future than anyone else.
Born February 24, 1940, according to Chinese Astrology she was a dragon – wild, independent, intuitive and alluring. She was also secretive, else perhaps I could have known her better. I knew enough, however, to appreciate her vision far ahead of her time.
At only 5 foot 2, she was still a commanding presence with grey-green eyes, black hair and posture straight as an ex-soldier. She possessed an uncanny intuition and ability to perceive people as they really were. Her wisdom and sympathy led people of every sort to confide in her, and everyone loved her. Her popularity puzzled her, as she revealed little of herself and counted her true friends few.
She was a dreamer and poet, both gifts she passed on to me. And she was a mystic, while at the same time being full of common sense and practicality. Her home was her pride, and together we spent many hours working to make it more beautiful. We varnished floors, painted walls, hung curtains, laid patios and planted gardens. When she fell ill, I was her housekeeper and curator of all her magic things: crystals, gemstones, odd-shaped pieces of driftwood, pine cones, dried leaves, peacock and wild turkey feathers, dream catchers, drums, rain sticks, incense, essential oils, and books. Her library was my first exposure to Native American stories, “Advice from a Tree”, myths and legends of nature and animals, aromatherapy, reflexology, accupressure and feng shui.
In her 50’s she returned to college for a degree in occupational therapy. For the rest of her life she worked at Bethany Convent with the elderly Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, helping them recover and maintain mobility through tai chi, massage, accupressure and reflexology. Her work was my introduction to the world of eastern medicine. I never did learn what type of massage she practiced, but it now seems likely it was in fact tui na.
Always intrigued and fascinated by the therapies she practiced, I learned much of what I know of alternative healing from her. Peppermint oil is still the first, best remedy for migraines, white vinegar stops the itching of bug bits immediately, and I always use lavender oil on burns. Little did I know, however, that 4 years after her death I would meet and marry a tui-na master and dedicate the rest of my life to promoting and practicing the ancient Asian healing arts. Stranger still, I remember her talking of her accupuncturist Wei Lu, who turned out to be co-head of the school of Oriental Medicine where I met my man Jesse.
I wish Judith could have met Jesse. She would have loved him and supported us both. But evidently she knew of him before I did, else how could she have prepared me so well?
Posted by Rose on her site here.
Read about her grandmother’s Thanksgiving dinner mouthwatering story.
Thanksgiving always reminds me of my grandmother. Every year we celebrated at her beautiful, hundred-year-old house on Smith Avenue, and what a feast it was! I remember anticipating the meal for weeks! read on How My Grandma Made Thanksgiving