Thursday, September 22, 2011

in search of

This past weekend, both my grandmother and great-grandmother were laid to rest after a very surreal week, spent with family, making sure the things that needed to be done were done. I learned something new about myself, too. I don't do well with people are crying at me. Call it heartlessness, lack of empathy, or some latent Nordic reserve, but on the few occasions it happened I found myself feeling helpless and assailed when someone would start crying, just looking at me as if for help. The instinct was to get away, and fast. With my own emotional well dried up, I had nothing in me to answer the relentless fountain welling up from someone else. Thankfully, we all kept it together most of the time.

I knew that my grandma was a regular reader of this blog, and whenever I posted a new photo or entry, I imagined her in the front row. She was a go-getter and a hard worker, and she always had projects going on. But she made time to talk to me, imparting new nuggets of knowledge or advice. The week before she died, I kept opening Skype, hoping to catch her online so I could tell her about my job hunt and see if she had any more advice for me. I tried calling, too, but there was no one to answer the phone since my grandparents were out traveling. So, ultimately, I never was able to tell her about the job hunt, or about my ideas at this point, or about Germany; I wasn't able to hear any last words of advice.

Still, I have a feeling I know what she would have said, anyway. I'll always remember our last conversations-- when I spent a night at her house fresh off the airplane from Japan, and when we Skyped before an interview of mine. She encouraged me to set my sights high and pursue them with confidence and poise. She not only believed, she knew that I would do my best in this transitional stage, and that gives me a powerful bit of motivation even amidst all the grief of losing her.

For both of us, being able to live independently is terribly important. She cautioned me strongly against getting stuck in a too-familiar rut, against putting my life on hold.

So now, when all my job leads have dried up once again and every door seems barred, even though I feel angry and powerless about the situation, I have my grandma's confidence that something great will work out, as long as I'm proactive about it and keep smiling.

1 comment:

Kevin Grimstad said...

My condolences. Being a bloke of Nordic descent, I know that I feel awkward while being around someone crying out of sadness. Thus, know that that feeling is normal. (Though, I haven't asked my non-Nordic peeps.)

Also, if anyone can find a good job in this drought of an economy, you can. You are incredibly intelligent and talented. May your future frustrations be few and far between. God bless.