The Strength in Me

Ernestasia Edwards

Someone whom I love and adore is a woman who brings the best out of everyone she encounters, not because shes the sweetest or giving, its her vibrant vibes of love and . This woman is my great grandmother, Linda. My great grandmother means everything to me and as much as I’d like to be selfish and have her all to myself, but with all the love and healing she extends to any and everyone, I can’t. She has too much wisdom and greatness to share with others , that everyone deserves to experience through her.

She has been through hell and back, growing up black in the south in the mid 1900’s was not easy. She was a labor worker in North Carolina before she moved to Boston starting a new life with just her siblings. However those hardworking life skills never left, as she is currently 78 and still working. All my life she’s been working 3+ jobs and loved it. She used to always tell me “rest was for the dead” whenever I questioned why she worked too much or why she only had one day out the week off. Many people would simply suggest it is to pay the bills, or to have enough money for life. Except for my great grandmother, her children help her with most of it and even previous employers. Shes been gifted with paid off rent for the year, light and water bill paid up, etc. Most people don’t get gifted such things in their life time and my great grandmother has almost every birthday. On top of all of that she has won the battle against breast cancer not 1.. not 2..but 3 times! With the painful reoccurrence of the cancer after long gaps of being cancer-free, you’d think she would ever worry, or use it as an excuse to work less and get taken cared of, but my great grandmother never did. She never worried or at the very least showed her worry, she barely told family members when it came back to prevent anyone from perceiving her as sick or in-need of anything. She is resilient and it showed in everything she did.

Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash

She will forever be my role model due to her ability to persevere. She always sees the good in people no matter how many mistakes they make or how bad other people perceieve them. Her warm embrace makes you never want to leave, peoples smiles are bigger around her, the happiness in the air when shes around humbles the family to have only positive vibes. Her positivity and presence has such a strong effect that she can control everyones actions and she doesnt even know it. She doesnt know that some family members are only acting “accordingly” to prevent themselves from looking bad infront of “nana”. Thats honestly more powerful than anything she can say to us or teach us, to have a power and not know that you have it nor know how important she is to the whole family. She makes people act their best, be their best, can resolve issues out of love and wisdom because she reaches deep without even trying. Your best is brought out around her just because you can feel her power, love, and respect.

This reminds me of Telemachus in The Odyssey when he was seeking a sense of “validation” by Nestor who is known to be wise and a great judge of character. Similarly, my grandmother’s presence is naturally “intimidating” because she’s known to be the wisest in the family. Her perception is very important to people regrading how she sees them because of her importance to everyone. I wouldn’t say people are scared to get on her “bad side” because she sees the good in everyone but to have her view you in a positive light is so fulfilling.

When it comes to her and I’s relationship, its the most supportive relationship I have. I can go to her for anything, she’ll give me what I need to hear before she’ll ever tell me what I want to hear. Its the warm embrace that makes me feel safe with her, its her wisdom that makes me trust her word, and her strength and confidence that brings those same characteristics out of myself. Someone can always be there to tell you about their life to get you to have something to look up to or learn from, but those people usually have the intent to effect you the way they do. However, my great grandmother is simply being her and shows us her strength in peculiar ways which brings our inner strength out. She brings the strength out of everyone she encounters because thats how she was able to be so strong and successful in life now. She brings the strength out of me.

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