Reframing: A Lesson from My Grandma
Recently, I was feeling a little sorry for myself because like many people, I love to travel, and it has been more than a year now since I’ve left Prince Edward Island.
In my bout of self pity, I was reminded of my Grandmother and a conversation we had during her last summer on earth. It was 2003 and we all knew it would be Grandma’s last summer. The breast cancer she survived 16 years previous had returned and she was pretty much at peace with knowing she was living her last months on this earth.
Everyone else had gone to the beach, but I chose to stay behind with Grandma. It’s a bit of a walk to the beach from our cottage. While she was well enough to be at the cottage, dwindling health it just wasn’t possible for her climb down the rocky bank anymore.
As we were enjoying the sun, I asked her; “Grandma, does it bother you not being able to go to the beach?”, and in true Grandma fashion, she paused for a long time as she looked out the window. Finally she said, “At first it did, but then I remember I can still go to the beach in my mind. And I’ve had the opportunity to travel and walk on a lot of beaches in my life”.
So that afternoon, she reminded me of her trips to Hawaii, Australia and the Magdalene Islands with my aunt and her family. She talked about the pebbly beach in Portapique, Nova Scotia where she went as a little girl. She recalled going to the beach in British Columbia and all of the funny beaches (basically river banks) that they had in the Yukon where she lived for more than 20 years. And of course, all the memories of the beach at our cottage at Rock Barra.
I was reminded of the sense of peace and contentment she left me with that day. Even though she wasn’t able to go to the beach physically, she was able to go in her mind and enjoy her memories. And that was good enough.
So for now, I am fondly remembering all of my holidays and trips and opportunities to travel that I’ve had in the past, while I lightly daydream about what that will look like in the future.
I’m curious…what’s a favorite trip that you treasure? We may not be able to travel as easily as we have in the past, but I’d love to hear your favorite memories.
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