Words by Kristina Pandolfino
Anyone who knows me more than just a Facebook friend, must surely know about the handful of escapades I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy with my grandmother. You see, my grandmother and I shared a togetherness that many people wouldn’t understand. Our close relationship was unlike your typical grandmother-and-granddaughter kind of bond; it was something much deeper. Not only was this exceptional woman my grandmother; the person who raised her daughter into a great woman whom I can proudly refer to as my mother, but she was also my soul mate and very best friend.
I believe that love and friendship are both timeless and have the power to connect people in mysterious ways, in respective of their age, their background and other stereotypical factors. Although my grandmother was around 50 years my senior, her age and humour never seemed too far out of my reach. Her witty sense of comicalness and empathetic soul made her someone I could easily trust and open up to with whatever situation it was that I was dealing with.
I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic lately and wanted to write (and dedicate) an article to my tremendously special grandmother (known to many as “Nanna Rose”.) Since I’ve been lucky enough to have shared plenty of years with my grandmother, I shall take this opportunity to share a portion of the knowledge and wisdom that she has taught me throughout her life, shaping me into the person I am today.
Here we go, this one’s for you!
1. Be proud of who you are
No matter your weaknesses, your inabilities and your most frowned upon features, you should always believe in yourself and be proud of who you are. Being blessed with a wacky sense of humour and a spark of individuality was something that I was not always too fond of, yet no matter the awkward situation I’d manage to stir up or the tongue-tied joke I’d often share, my grandmother would always back me up with a laugh or a cheeky smile, underlining the importance of self belief and self acceptance in today’s society.
2. You can do anything you put your mind to
Whether it’s raising three children by herself or always being present during moments that mattered the most, my grandmother always managed to accomplish whatever it was that she wanted to achieve. Even though she never gave herself the credit she whole heartedly deserved, through her hardships and pain my grandmother always managed to come out on top, and has surely accomplished so much throughout her 75 years of life that most of us could never even dream of!
3. Good movies can cure anything!
Okay, well obviously not anything, but most things! My grandmother and I have always been avid movie lovers sharing a handful of psychological thrillers and drama titles to our list of favourites. As though our weekly visits to the DVD store were not time consuming enough (back in the day when I did not drive and carriage rides seemed to be more reliable than our public transport), we would spend endless hours raiding racks of DVD’s in a tiny rundown store in the hopes of picking out a mind-blowing movie to watch that evening.
If the movie we chose wasn’t up to our standards within its first ten minutes, we’d turn it off and move to the next one; there’s no point in finishing a bad movie anyway! The beauty of good films has always been something that we’ve appreciated, and often stirred up a handful of never-ending story-line debates. One thing we both learned, is that a great movie can make you forget about everything going on around you, taking your mind into a different space. Whenever you’re having a bad day or feeling that little bit overwhelmed, just pop in a good movie, grab a bag of nibbles and let your mind drift away into another world for an hour or two!
4. Your humour never fades
Your hair may lose it’s pigment, your skin may lose it’s elasticity, but your humor will remain young and vivid until your very last breath. No matter how old you become, your humour will never fade. It is deeply locked within your soul and shall never disappear to those around you. Whether you’re having a bad day or not in the best of moods, don’t focus too much on the negative around you. Stay calm and listen closely, for your innate sense of humor shall always be present within, allowing you to turn the worst situation into a more manageable one. Laughter and giggles go a very long way, promise.
5. Blood is thicker than water
Friends are great to have, after all they’re the family we’ve chosen ourselves, yet the relationships we have with friends and family are two different stories. Most of the time your true friends are the ones who are there for you, help you out and wish you good, yet the love shown to you by a family member is somewhat deeper than that. Whenever you find yourself in urgent need of help, be it health wise or financially, who is it that you find right by your side? Sure some friends will be there along the way, though most of the time it is your close family members that hold your head up and help you sail through the rough waters. Friends do come and go but family is something that stays forever, not only through its budding of generations but also through its unbreakable bond of love and trust.
6. Always forgive (even if you don’t forget)
If you’ve been hurt before than you already know how hard it is to forgive someone. We’re not saints, far from it, so being angry and upset about someone’s negative actions is only normal. When someone intentionally hurts us, calls us names or just blatantly wishes harm upon us, there are two directions we can take in order to deal with this situation. We can either decide to step up our game and battle it out; an option that might seem empowering at first but will only end in tears and possibly police reports.
When it came to these situations, my grandmother was always the one who would swallow her pride and forgive the person who had harmed her (even though I wouldn’t always agree with that.) Sure, she would react to such situations by feeling upset and possibly angry, but whatever the situation was she would always teach me to be the bigger person and be open to forgiveness.
Forgiving someone is the first step to healing and will take a long time to cure your heart from the pain it has dealt with, yet in the long run she who forgives is always a winner.
7. It’s okay not to feel okay (sometimes)
With a lack of mental health awareness around us, it is common to feel out of place and isolated when suffering from some form of mental health condition, whether it’s bi-polar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders etc. Our life is filled with both good and bad days, which ultimately have an affect on how we carry on with our daily lives. Having a bad day, and not managing to get out of bed is something that we shouldn’t be ashamed of. During darker times, my grandmother has shown me that it’s okay to sometimes feel this way, and that better days are to come my way. Perspective all comes into play when we’re having a bad day, and the way we perceive the world around us will determine how we overcome these daunting situations.
8. Eat the damn cake
If there’s one thing I learned from my grandmother; it’s to never stay hungry! You should always go for that cream desert you’ve been eyeing, or sneak the last chocolate out of the chocolate box. Eating yummy food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t have your cake and eat it too! (She certainly did!)
So there you go, eight of the most important lessons I’ve learned from one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. I’ve always thought soul mates were idolized relationships that only existed in movies or Nicholas Sparks’ novels, but I was certainty wrong.