Sunday, November 19

Sunday Scribblings ~ Hero

me putting an orchid lei on my Va Va during
our wedding ceremony, photo by Robin

When I first heard of this weeks Sunday Scribblings prompt being "Hero", my mind went directly to my Va Va (grandmother in Portuguese).

As I sit here late at night in my dark studio with candles lit and hot tea by my side, I wonder if she would ever have an idea that she is indeed a heroine to me. By writing this I am reminding myself to tell her so when I see her next at Christmas. That is if I can get through it without crying...which would probably make her feel very awkward being that she isn't all that openly emotional.

You see...Va Va (her real name is Hilda) is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She's held our large Portuguese family (on my father's side) together with her bare hands and her big heart. She is our matriarch. None of us would exist if it wasn't for her. That must be completely overwhelming for her at times when she is in a house full of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Some women, when their body becomes old, so does their mind and their soul. Not my Va Va. Her wisdom has carried her through the years so that to this day, in her late eighties, she can still resonate with a young child, a teenager and so on. When giving me advice, I have always felt that she never forgot what it was to be in my shoes. Her mind remains open to ideas that are ever flowing today even though they are far different than what she grew up with.

Whenever I am in her presence, I feel a sense of solidity. She's so grounded in who she is. She loves herself. She's always been so beautiful but never got caught up in vanity. She just has this confidence that emulates and is contagious because when I am with her, I believe in myself a little bit more than I usually do.

A few years back, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She could have had the lump taken out but she opted to have her whole breast removed without a second emotional thought. When I asked her about it, she said with a smile on her face and laughter in her tone...

"I told my doctor to take the whole breast off! I don't need it. If I want to see two breasts, I'll just look at my left one twice!!"

I will never forget her telling me this. It struck me so deep. I laughed out loud with her and was so taken aback by her perspective. It taught me priorities and how important it is to stay positive despite the circumstances. Va Va never let her cancer define her or brake her. She's a fighter and embraces her personal power. She never wanted to talk about her cancer because she didn't want to give it energy. She told me this in so many words without using the word "energy" but I knew what she meant. She also refused to let any of us feel sorry for her which wasn't easy because we are all nurturer's. I know she had her moments where she must have been frightened but she somehow loosened that grip fear had on her. I'd like to think it is this attitude that has kept the cancer from returning to her body because her positive way of living/thinking/feeling doesn't leave room for it.

What I always get from her is that she just wants to live fully and watch the many of us that came from her to live our lives just as fully.

So with all this said, during those times when I begin to feel a bit sorry for myself about my (in)fertility journey, I tap into the spirit of my Va Va and am reminded of her strength, self worth and her ability to fight like a true heroine. I now know that I too can get through this challenging journey without allowing it to define who I am. Her own journey reminds me that I am so many other things than a woman struggling with her (in)fertility.

Thank you for this gift, Va Va...thank you for empowering me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should print out this entry and give it to her. She would love every word.

I have similar feelings about my very strong grandmother (the only grandparent I have left) but I've never exactly expressed my extreme admiration for her. You've inspired me to tell her. And soon...

November 19, 2006 at 11:22:00 PM PST  
Blogger Lady Prism said...

ah'...your lovely "Va Va" is the epitome of what I hope to be...what a very encouraging post and a lovely tribute. She truly is one woman worth emulating. You are indeed so much blessed to have a walking wisdom of love with you.

...and how timely that I should read this..when I was thinking a couple of days ago about the kind of woman I want to be... years..and years and years from now when I am wearing my hair in silver beauty...thank you

November 19, 2006 at 11:30:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D, this is a beautiful tribute to a woman who has clearly had a life and spirit altering affect on you. She sounds like an amazing individual, and one that every person who met her would be deeply touched by.

How inspiring to have such a strong, open, and loving matriach in your family.

Love to you....xoxoxoxo

November 20, 2006 at 12:50:00 AM PST  
Blogger JP (mom) said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother with a reminder of her lovely grace. much peace, JP

November 20, 2006 at 5:09:00 AM PST  
Blogger Deb R said...

She sounds like an amazing woman and her smile shines in that photo.

November 20, 2006 at 6:29:00 AM PST  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Your Va Va sounds like an amazing woman, to be cherished and treasured. Enjoy every moment you can spend with her!

November 20, 2006 at 7:03:00 AM PST  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Beautiful story...I was seriously teary over it--I never got to know either of my grandmothers, since they passed away when I was a small girl. This gave me a glimmer of what I've missed these many years...what a blessing she must be to your life!

November 20, 2006 at 7:04:00 AM PST  
Blogger Deirdre said...

What a beautiful tribute. You're so lucky to have your grandmother and to have known her all your life. Mine lived in Ireland, so I only got a short time with them. I think it's important to look at the women who came before us and know that their strength lives in us too.

November 20, 2006 at 7:43:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a beautiful soul. no wonder she is a heroin to you! and i'm sure she knows how you feel ;)

November 20, 2006 at 10:10:00 AM PST  
Blogger Yummyteece said...

I laughed out loud at her wonderful breast comment! What a great perspective to have. What a strong soul. You are most lucky to have such a woman in your life.

November 20, 2006 at 10:12:00 AM PST  
Blogger alphawoman said...

She would probably love to read this.

November 20, 2006 at 10:44:00 AM PST  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

this is such a beautiful tribute deni.

"because when I am with her, I believe in myself a little bit more than I usually do"--isn't that the perfect definition of a hero. they always makes us believe in ourselves a little more.

November 20, 2006 at 11:22:00 AM PST  
Blogger Susannah Conway said...

sweetheart, this is a wonderful post - your Va Va would love it and i'm sure she's so proud of you (like i am)... i hope i get to meet her one day :-) xox

November 20, 2006 at 11:48:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VaVa a one of a kind. She has taken me to her bosom these last 46 years of marriage to her son. Taking the place of my mom and also becoming my dear friend.She is still someone to rekon with at 88 years old. We want her with us forever. Sweet sweet VaVa.

November 20, 2006 at 12:29:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would touch VaVA's heart.
Love you so much daughter.

November 20, 2006 at 12:32:00 PM PST  
Blogger liz elayne lamoreux said...

beautiful deni. i do hope you tell her all of this when you see her at christmas.
your va va has a gorgeous heart of strength. thank you for sharing your hero.

November 20, 2006 at 12:47:00 PM PST  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

Oh your Va Va sounds like such an amazing and strong woman.

I can imagine she would love to know all of this.

I am glad she gives you strength.

You give me stength lovely one.

I love you.

November 20, 2006 at 3:51:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deni, your Va Va sounds so great.
She sounds like she has some real zest to life, and it is no wonder you and Dar have such amazing qualities and gifts.
And I hope your (in)fertility journey is ended soon babes!

November 20, 2006 at 4:13:00 PM PST  
Blogger Susannah Conway said...

okay, your marmie's comments just brought a little tear to my eye... :-) xo

November 20, 2006 at 5:05:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful post. My Grandmother is my hero too; and so, you had me in tears. Here's to all the Hildas & Evelyns in the world as they inspire their grandaughters to greatness!

November 20, 2006 at 6:10:00 PM PST  

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