Monday 12 May 2014

Four Pillars

As a writer, I think, A LOT. I am always pondering, remembering and trying to make sense out of all the things that have happened in my life. Yesterday was a day filled with thoughts. 

Sunday was Mother's Day and I spent the day with my children, mother, grandmother and aunt. The sun was shining and the air was warm so we took advantage of sitting out back at my parent's home and enjoyed the sunshine that was so desperately missed this past winter.  The kids were running around with our dog, my grandmother sat quietly in a chair in the shade and my mother and aunt puttered around the pond, trimming bushes, pruning trees and bickered the way sisters do. At one point, the kids and I were taking bets on who was going to fall into the pond first as these two women grappled through dead branches and dried foliage. I sat and watched in amusement, glancing over to my grandmother every so often to see that she was alright.

These women, along with my paternal grandmother (deceased) have been pivotal forces in my life. I learned how to be a strong woman through observing and listening to these females. Their life stories were filled with trials, tribulations, fear, joy, love and hope. They taught me how to stay strong in the face of adversity, how to stay standing when your world was rocked and how to love and laugh and not give a damn about what anyone else thought. Four women who are the pillars in my life.

My paternal grandmother was a happy, loving and fun woman. I was fortunate enough to have her in my life for 18 years. She lived upstairs in our home and my brother and I were always walking up and down those stairs, trying to catch a glimpse of she was up to. The epitome of class and elegance, I can still remember what she smelled like, how she painted her nails and teased her hair. A classic beauty that could have stepped off the silver screen. Mama, as we called her, came to Canada with children in tow and divorced her no good husband (I met this man only twice in my life). She didn't let fear stop her from moving forward. Not a new country, being a single mom or the prospect of creating a life in a city where she didn't know the language. She was formidable and tried everything, at least once. I can still remember her attempt to ride a bike in the early 1970's, falling in the ditch and regaining her composure laughing hysterically.  THIS was how she was and this is what I learned from her. Laugh. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at life. Laugh when it all seems bad because it really isn't that bad. I miss this woman terribly.

My Nonna is now a shell of who she was because of Alzheimer's. In the past two years, this strong, work horse of a woman has succumbed to this dreadful disease that has stolen the life and memories from within her. It is said that she had a bit of mischief in her while growing up in Italy. She worked hard all of her life but this didn't stop her from singing and dancing with her friends after a day's work. My grandfather knew she headstrong and wore the pants in the family and I think he welcomed it. This woman knew what was and what needed to be done. Caregiver to everyone, Nonna was our matriarch. She looked after her father-in-law, both her parents, her ailing son, all her brothers and sister and all her children and grandchildren. It took guts and determination for her to make sure everyone was okay. I never remember her being sick. I never remember her complaining about the things she chose to do. And yet, she sits her and loses a bit of herself daily. 

I love my aunt. She is my voice of reason. The one who says it like it is whether you like it or not. Her tough exterior masks the heart of gold she has. This woman bleeds quietly but loves excessively. Growing up, my aunt was the cool one - hot pink lips, long hair, cool clothes, lover of music and heels. The Rebel. My brother and I spent a lot of time with her, hanging out like hippies in the backyard. I always wanted to be like her, strong, wild, and carefree and creative. And I am like her.

My mom and aunt are night and day in some traits but in others, you can see they are sisters and possess the same characteristics that make them loving and strong women.  They just manifest these differently. My mother was often viewed as the weak, feeble one.  She stands less than 5 feet tall but is mightier than one may believe but less fragile than many expect. At age 9, she was given the task of caring for her baby brother, a task that came so natural to her and is still with her today. She is the caregiver, the one who needs and wants to be by your side when things go wrong. I learned, not too long ago, she cheers silently for you when you succeed but will cry openly with you when you are hurt.

These four women are the mainstays in my life. It is because of them that I keep a positive and determined outlook on life. And while these four women make up the four corners of my life, I have noticed that many of the women with whom I surround myself are just as amazing. They all have moxie. They are all fearless. They are all women who are the propelling force in their own lives. And that is what makes us remarkable.

Talk to me! Who are the women in your life that have taught you the most?


  1. Lovely post indeed!! I too posted about the two women of my life; my mom and my grandmom! They too are remarkable, strong, independent women and I am proud to have them in my life!!

    1. Thanks Roshni! I read your post...awesome! I find it amazing that history books are filled with the greatness of men but when you talk to the masses it is the women in their life that have been impactful. I hope my children look at me that way one day. :)