Grandma

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It’s taken me a while to say something about this.  And this is hardly a tribute worthy of her.  I will try again once I feel like I have the words to describe her.

My grandmother passed away Thursday, April 3rd during the night.  She had been suffering for years from cirrhosis of the liver–presumably caused by Hepatitis C that she contracted while volunteering at a hospital in her youth (safety and sanitation was not as rigorous as it is now).  Her body began shutting down years ago and she was finally able to find peace from all her pain.

I have to write a true essay to describe the kind of woman she was–this short summary won’t suffice.  At the most basic, she dedicated her life to serving others.  She volunteered countless hours feeding the poor through Care Corps; comforting those who had lost loved ones by organizing and cooking for funerals; clothed the poor through a mission to provide for a reservation in Nebraska; volunteering as a nurse assistant at the local hospital and nursing home; served as a role model for young women (including her own daughters and grand-daughters) through being a leader with the Girl Scouts; was the backbone of our church; served with the American Red Cross Blood Drive for 24 years.  Her contributions are endless.

I had always known what a strong leader she was but I didn’t grasp it until her funeral–between the visitation and funeral over 300 people came to pay their respects to her.  Going through memorabilia, photos, and other keepsakes–we found letters, hundreds of letters thanking her for this or that favor, her volunteer work, her friendship.

She’s left behind a huge hole both in the community and in our family.  But I’m proud that her spirit of giving has manifested in all of her children and grandchildren.  I’m proud to dedicate my life to helping others knowing that she was the one who first taught me to give back–that charity and kindness, no matter how small, should guide every action.

It hasn’t hit me yet how much I’ve lost.  But I know she’s still there.  She lives on in the memories countless people have curated lovingly of her.

Metamorphosis

I’m trying to take control of my life.  Past attempts have been unsuccessful and I’m not sure why or if this time it’s different.

Moving to Austin last year shook me up and exposed the tentative solidity of my foundations, exposed all the weaknesses I had been able to cover up in my comfort zone.  There hasn’t been any refuge here and everything has worked towards making my base weaker.

You could say I’m starting from square one in this situation.

I’m taking control of my body and working towards being healthier.  I’ve always had this deep hate of my body–it’s never been good enough for me, for society.  Its ampleness has worked to make me unhappy and ashamed.  I’ve withdrawn, made myself smaller, where it cannot be smaller.  I’ve made myself so small, I’ve become invisible and I’m not sure who I am anymore.  I’m working out with a personal trainer twice a week and working hard to work out again on the weekend.  But, since I’ve ramped up my schedule and am working full time, this isn’t always possible.  I’m trying to get to the bottom of my health issues and address them.  I feel I’ve found a good link with my compound heterozygous MTHFR mutation that seems to be causing a lot of issues; I have ordered Metanx, a medical food, to help with my body’s deficiencies.  Curiously enough, the mutation seems to be linked to depression–something I have struggled with my whole life despite medication, therapy, and a hell-bent attitude towards happiness.

I’m also trying to socialize more.  Friendships have been hard here.  The deep, patience friendships from my childhood and from college don’t resemble what I’ve found here.  I have abandoned “friends” who don’t respect my time and effort in the relationship and don’t help me to live a happier, healthier life.  I’ve looked for friends who will contribute to a healthier state of mind.  I’m seeking to do new things with friends.  This weekend will be the first couples soccer match–an activity Cliford and I have designed to be part exercise, part socializing.  I’m planning my first party–a pool party this summer where I will barbeque, serve other foods, share my home with friends, play pool volleyball.  I’m going to attend a Bible study even though I am an atheist.  I will further work on my patience and tolerance by thoughtful conversation on the book of Mark and Jesus’ teachings (which can appeal to people of all faiths in its universal nature).  I’m going to begin volunteering for the Multicultural Refugee Coalition; I will be teaching English, computer skills, and help refugees find jobs here in Austin.

I’m also working towards my future.  I’ve been making time 2-3 times out of the week to study 2-3 hours for the LSAT.  I plan to take the June LSAT to get a good feel for it and take it again in October.  I’ve decided to be human and give myself more of a chance.  I will be including an addendum to explain the differences in my performance.  It’s been a very tough year (and even tougher beginning to the year) and I deserve some slack and recognition that, despite it all, I’m still working hard and dedicated to law school and my future.

The only problem is I’m not sure how to improve my relationship.  I hope that by improving myself, taking care of myself better, it’ll also make my relationship better.

I’m determined to make 2014 the turning point in my life and begin living the way I want to live instead of imprisoning myself.