With the death of my great grandmother, I feel more poignantly the uncertainty and fear around the fact that the older I get and the more family pass away, the closer I get to having to take on that elder or aunty role in which they have been for me. Far off as it may be, I don’t know how confident or ready I feel in that. It brings on an immense sense of loss and anxiety, that without them in my life I just don’t know who I am anymore.
I find myself reflecting and (re)evaluating my own sense of my role in the continuity of my ancestors, both in terms of the attachment and value many people place on making babies and raising families, and in terms of what continuity means beyond my own family with respect to what I am passing on to future generations more broadly. It’s a core question of our mortality and the desire to gift something of value to the world that will live on affecting the lives of countless others after. How best do I express my love for those who went before and those who will come after?
My family held the funeral service for my great grandmother today and I got to spend the day talking with them and sharing lunch with my best friends, who brought me flowers and their invaluable support. We got to go visit with other dear grandmothers who passed away, and reflect more deeply on our next steps in this life. My great grandmother is the first matriarch I’ve known in my mother’s family to pass, and the questions and longings that have arisen out of that for me affirm all the more the importance of women’s circles and leadership. Times like these are a call and a reminder that perhaps the most important thing we can do in honoring and carrying on in the physical absence of our loved ones is to trust and accept ourselves. As much as I have gone through life thinking I was making all the wrong choices and stumbling along in the darkness, I actually find myself surrounded by the most remarkable and beautiful relationships I could have created. To truly commit to those people and those communities in my life requires my absolute trust and acceptance of myself as the embodiment of all my family’s love, hopes, resistance, and resilience. They deserve no less than my greatness.
Love you mom-mom.