I don’t mind saying that I had two amazingly wonderful grandmothers! My Grandma Howard (Doris Jean Howard) was a spirited, yet always proper, country girl! She lived in Missouri her whole life and was raised by her loving grandparents after suffering abuse as a young girl from her step-father. She married my grandpa at the age of 17 because he was going off to war. My grandparents were the happiest couple I have ever known. They were poor, but made such a happy life for themselves. They were fun and wonderful parents, and grandparents, and were loved by everyone in their little community. She was a seamstress her whole life, working from home, while my grandpa had his own garage across the street from where they lived, where he fixed cars.
My grandparents loved being together. They talked forever on their front porch, or over coffee in the morning, before my grandma scuttled him out the door for work, where she came and visited him frequently. They fished, played cards, went on road trips, entered photography contests together, and she always kept a journal. I came across this today and wanted to share it. I have always loved this particular journal entry of hers. At the age of 75 she wrote it, and we read it at her funeral four years later:
I haven’t written for a long time. I have now lived three quarters of a century. That doesn’t make me so very old but I realize there are things I would have liked to do that are now closed to me.
My brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer right before Christmas, and is now in the thick of the battle. His prognosis is good, but it’s going to be a rough few months ahead. Of course, this has caused me to think back to when I was first diagnosed with cancer, and I have always said that it was harder emotionally than physically. I still believe that to be true. Whether it’s cancer, or some other challenge, fear is often a part of the equation that can compound our problems. But when we can overcome our fears, we are free. Today I put down a few of my thoughts on overcoming fear:
When I was a young girl I dreaded report card time or parent/teacher conferences, because I knew I would get a huge lecture and punishment from my parents who expected my best efforts. The conclusion my father came to was that I was being lazy. I knew that laziness wasn’t the real reason for my lackluster grades, but, honestly, I could not figure out why I wasn’t simply putting forth a little more effort to produce better grades. I knew I could do better. As I got older my grades gradually went up, and finally in college, when no one saw my grades but myself, I proved to be a good student.
After years of reflection, I sought deeply to understand myself better, and I contemplated the feelings I had as a young girl. I wanted to determine why I was so unwilling to put my full effort into school. Finally, I realized that it was fear. I had always wanted to believe that I could get As in any subject if I tried hard enough, but, I told myself that I was only willing to put forth minimal effort, and that was why I was under-performing. That theory brought me some measure of comfort.