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All Souls Day – Remembering the Good & the Bad Gives us Strength

grandmothersToday is All Souls day. This is a day to remember our ancestors who have died, and to honour them.

Today it was my grandmother whom I remembered. All Souls Day is special, but I remember my granny every day.

No one would ever accuse her of being delicate or fragile. She was strong, fiercely protective, and one of the most fun, free-spirited people I have ever known. Living life fully is the legacy she left her family.

There was always room for one more at her table, and enough food in the pot for one more. She was generous and giving, and thrived on adventure and curiosity. She gave us tradition, taught us the true meaning of love, and backed down from no one and nothing. She was simply amazing.

As a single woman, I could not have asked for a better role model or mentor. She has been gone almost 15 years, and she remains the strongest influence in my life. She was the mother I never had.

Today a friend of mine had to make funeral arrangements for her own mother.

My mother died this year too.  These two women never met, but seem to have one thing in common; they had terrible relationships with their daughters.

The only thing I mourned when my mother died was the long-forgotten hope that perhaps one day I would have a loving, caring mother, instead of the one who knowingly allowed the sexual, emotional and physical abuse of her child.

On the day of her funeral, I woke up, wondered at what an absolute waste her  life was, and toasted her  with a mimosa. I prayed  that her soul might finally be set free from the misery of her own creation.

Had my classmate not let us know her own mother had died, I would not have been thinking of the woman who gave birth to me either.

All Souls Day offers us a chance to remember the difficult relationships in order to appreciate the good ones.  It offers us a reminder that one day, we will also be gone, leaving nothing but a memory with those whom we love the most.

Raise a toast to those who have challenged you and even tried to devastate you.  Get down on your knees and give thanks for those who raised you up, lived a life of purpose rooted in love, and gave you that little kick in the ass we all need to keep being kind and fabulous.

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Remembering Your Roots

rememberyourrootsYears ago, an uncle gave me a painting, and on the back of the frame he wrote, “Always remember your roots”.

Sounds sweet doesn’t it?

But it wasn’t. He was, and likely still is a man full of hatred and fear. His message carried the sinister connotation of not letting yourself forget the shame you came from.

Remembering your roots should be about joy, triumph, and a legacy that leaves you proud and happy to have the roots you do.

Almost 20 years ago, I trimmed out the rotting, diseased roots, and kept the good ones. Someone sent me an email today  and referred to their stubborn Irish relatives and the ‘loud-mouth soup’ they needed in order to engage in meaningful conversation.

My stubborn Irish relatives are the roots I tend. We’re crazy, straight up, would give you the shirt off our backs and do anything for you. Unless.

Unless you mistreat us. In other words, the golden rule rules. If you forget that, you can forget it. As in, don’t even look at us.

Sometimes a quick trip to reconnect is the balm I need to inspire myself to live more fully. In a world seemingly surrounded by people with ulterior motives, whose actions contradict their words, it’s nice to see my own refreshingly naked communication style reflected back by someone with the same genes.

After all, I like the woman I’ve become. Being happy with myself, confident of my abilities, and strong-willed has served me well. An afternoon in the hot tub sipping wine with my Auntie set me straight, and inspired me to keep on keeping on.

I’m all for remembering your heritage and ancestry, as long as you drop the shame, guilt and dysfunction that casts a shadow over your fabulousness.

Remember your roots darlings, but be sure to prune the poison.