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.