A tale of two Grandmothers

Coming to terms with Grandmas.

We have always questioned the kind of world it would be without grandmas all over the world? Whether we agree with them or not, grandmothers all are a puzzle in the lives of their grandchildren. They share common bonds, i.e. their love for their grandchildren. They do similar jobs, like caring. In addition to that, they also share great bonds with their little Murphy’s as I call them. Their smiles are contagious to those they really love and admire but not to everyone especially if you stood in the way between them and their grandchildren.  Yes did I forget that they are very defensive too of their grand kids, and if you are in this millennium, you either cannot stand it or worse you give them a long rope. Yet they will still figure out ways to say hi to the children. Why,because they are just grandmas.  The grandmas do the same thing but differently, depending where they are, the place and time especially all over the world.

 A decade ago came my own grandmother. It was 15 years since she passed away. But what made her  great was her love for her grandchildren, education, and God. She suffered a lot of pain in her life because she lost two of her daughters early and she was really resilient to pain. As time went by she went through all kinds of pain, man-made pain. Unexpected pain from sickness, you name them. She  went through all of  them. She also had no education because during her time women were trained to be house wives.  But she encouraged her grandchildren to go to school. She had 14 grandchildren as at that time. But she gave love, time, to every grandchild as if she wanted to make up for losing their mother, as if it was all her fault that it happened. Nonetheless, it was just her. Her passion  and care. She made sure everyone was okay; that was her selfless part that really drew me closer to her.

 In Africa, grandmas do not own cars let alone drive one, but her way of waking everybody early in the morning speaks volume.  If you are a grandchild, and do not want to go to church please do not go to grandma’s house on Sunday. Grandma will wake you up for early morning devotion around 6am. .And she has a special dish that will drive you to church even if you do not want to go to go. That is just my grandma. She makes sure we went to church on Sundays even if it means standing up with a stick in her hand just to scare us. Well I found out that my grandmother would have been in jail if it is in America because you can’t even raise a stick to scare anyone. My grandma did it with love and I think all the parents that raise cane to scare their kids here did it for love too .

I knew in my heart what killed my grandma. When her body became weak, she was no longer able to provide the kind of services she was giving to all her grandchildren and do all the things she knew how to do. She had Parkinson’s disease but even back then we did not know anything about the disease. All I knew then was  her hands  shaking uncontrollably.  But I later learned about the disease while I was taking care of my patients with similar problems here . Then there was no special care given to her, but here all those people with similar problems were looked after.  She was hurting, knowing that she had unfinished business. She became worried about what life without her would mean to her grandchildren. She became worried. I do not think she  was worried about her grandchildren joining gangs because  In Africa, we had nothing like gangs  . Instead we had a different kind of society with a different kind of problem. A society where nobody cared immensely for poor people, a society  that does not so much care for the elderly, not a tiny bit. It was a different kind of world. Probably if she was still living and I tried to explain to her how Americans cared for their elderly, poor, disabled, homeless, probably that would have put her to tears that I had never witnessed from her, But I can comfortably compare these two worlds because I know them both, I have been impacted by these two countries in different ways.

Four years later in a different  world,  and another generation comes another kind of grandma .Grandma Lupe deserves recognition. I do not live in the same house with her, but she is one of those people that  speaks  less about themselves because they are always  busy taking care of everyone else. To her it is all about her grandchildren. I give credit to whoever deserves it.  I know it, I have felt it, and she never even speaks about it. It is left for people like us to acknowledge what a wonderful grandma she is.  As a child advocate, there are things you see that make your heart happy. This type of nurturing leads to a wonderful beginning of raising and guiding children which is good for their development.

Lupe is very energetic; she is so strong that she can carry all her grandchildren in her 12 passenger white van. Lupe is about 4feet 6 inches tall but walks around like a young 16 year old. Lupe has almost 14 grandchildren but she makes sure every one of those grandchildren comes to church. Like my grandma.

I first  met  Lupe in 2008. We are both regular church goers at West Valley Assemblies of God church. As soon as she came down from her long white van I was shocked to see her driving a long van that might be too much, way too heavy for her. Why would anyone do that I asked?. When she could have driven a smaller car made only for her. But no, as years went by she continued to transport her grandchildren to and from the church, to bible quiz, to everything. The difference here is that those her grand kids have parents but she became so attached to them. She helped them  to learn everything including bible. She wants them to have a better life and she had lived up to it. A loving  and kind woman that has devoted her time still raising kids ,then you start to wonder if those children have mothers. Like a perfect attendant that I tried to be, she has more perfect attendance than anybody in that church. I did not make it up. As days and time went by, Lupe still drove her long van, still wears the same short that was  so convenient for her ,and had continued to nurture her grandchildren without fear. She even registered all of them in bible quiz which requires her to teach them and to drive them all over the place.

But recently, things had begun to change for Lupe. Her eyes are very bad so that she cannot drive anymore. Recently she had been in out of the hospital because of her health.  The first day she was admitted in the hospital the whole church was empty probably because all her children followed her to the hospital. I later learned that It was so chaotic in the hospital because all her grandchildren were all there. I can only imagine. Lupe now has eye patch, and is going down every day, but you can see how scared she is. Scared about the unknown. Some days  she is good and  some days she is really bad, but yet she continued to worry about her grandchildren.  She is worried about them drifting away, joining gangs, and becoming drop outs. None of these my grandmother had to worry about because of time, place and situations.  I know there is a special bond between grandchildren and grandparents.

Last night on Wednesday, I saw her looking more depressed than ever. She was not only worried for her grand kids welfare, most importantly she was very concerned about who will be reading the bible for them as they need their grandmother to help them read. I went home weeping like I have always done all my life. I have been in this position before.   The first time was when I saw my grandmother always worried.

About us because our mother was not there, here again this woman(Lupe) was still alive but in pain. She is in so much pain because she knows what will happen to her grandchildren if she was not there. Unlike my grand ma this woman is worried about the streets and gangs. She is worried about how their lives will change. Unlike my grandma, this children’s real life parent are alive and healthy. But  my grandmother, children were dead and she took it like it as her fault that we were all born. Amazing isn’t it.  As I would,

I had The same kind of connection I had with my grandma. I have always related to this woman so greatly that I have become her cheerleader and I do not think she knew it.  Last Saturday, she became a passenger in a car driven by his son. Inside the car you could still see hands wiggling as if she was saying


 let me drive. She wanted to know the time to pick the kids and I was saying to her relax. Take a deep breath and worry less. This last Saturday, I held her hand like I will do to my late grandmother, I told her to breathe, relax and think less about those problems. I know that this might be it for her because her eye are so bad that she may not be able to drive again. But  I am worried about this wonderful woman, that has selflessly done her job, she had continued to shelter and care for all of her grand children. Now Lupe continued to be sick,

On Easter Sunday, Lupe was surrounded by her children; She was in tears, her eyes patched. She cannot take it anymore. I went to her and told her to relax. Let it go and be free. I know in my heart that her worries can even lead to something more disastrous. I hope she live to know like my friend and author had said . “reality demands , that we mention this. Life goes on , it continues at Cannae, and Borodino, at Kosovo Polje and Guernica,” …Wistawa

My grandmother always wished to exist in the moment; never to  part ways . “Time please stands still; she begged, uttered and prayed.But there is always time for everything especially a time to let go. It may be so hard and tough but we need to encourage all the grandmas and help them to really understand when it is time to let go and relax.  For our dear and beloved Lupe, this will be a good time to remember this wonderful woman who has done so much in saving the children. Our thoughts and prayers should be on her. And we can even help her in anyway we can to encourage this type of selfless act in a world full with selfish people.

It so amazing to know that in two different worlds, time and distances grandmas are all the same. Shared same  passion.  Had similar  fears for their grandchildren.

I have a wonderful conclusion. Grandmothers all over the word are same. They are like flowers that brightened our children’s eyes. They genuinely care about their little ones and unexplainable, there is a special bond between grandchildren and grandparents.


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