My Grandma passed away on April 11, 2009. Her name is Ida Mae (Morrow) Holden. She was 96 year old. She wasn’t famous, nor did she do anything that was notable in the eyes of the world. However, this woman, without even trying, was a remarkable influence in my life and the lives of many.
My first memories include sitting on a highchair, in my Grandmother’s kitchen, while she puttered about. After lots of soul searching and lots of disappointment about being in a world where adults only belittled the depth of the thoughts of a child, I got the courage up to ask my Grandmother, “Where did we come from, why are we here and where do we go when we die?” I was deeply relieved at the core of my soul, when my Grandmother looked at me, at first almost puzzled, and then responded to me as if I deserved a very thoughtful answer.
That day was the first of many that I would spend with my Grandmother, in her kitchen asking questions about God, our souls, the Earth, life, etc. Unbeknownst to me at first, I had confided my questions in the right person. My Grandmother had spent her entire life studying the works and writings of what seemed to me to be literally all of the famous masters.
Ida was raised a Southern Baptist. She always expressed a deep love and loyalty to her parents and family. However, she had experiences as a child that frightened her parents. She had clairvoyant experiences and when she predicted things that would come true, her parents urged her to stop and explained to her that the devil was working through her. In her early teens she had memories of reincarnation. One vivid memory was of being one of the people that translated the bible. I cannot remember the century she spoke of. She said at that point, her handwriting dramatically changed into an ancient handwriting that she was never taught. Not wanting to believe these experiences were evil, she stepped out into her own spiritual journey while still in her teens.
She had many answers and many things to say about spirit, soul, spiritual journey, Jesus, and many other great teachers. When she did not have answers that she felt was satisfying me, she would give me a book. And she always gave me the right book at the right time.
When I was eleven years old, she gave me the book called, Autobiography of a Yogi. I must have read this book dozens of times between eleven years old and fifteen years old. This was the first book I read that resonated with me as being in the direction of truth and reality. I was deeply appreciative to my Grandmother for giving me the book and trusting that I was mature enough to read it.
Her patience and interest in my questions gave me great hope and a great appreciation. A supreme act of kindness and generosity to another and I have never forgotten, nor did I ever take it for granted.
Watching her live her life was also quite remarkable. She was generous to a fault. Although, some things were never spoken about, it was obvious to me that she was the main financial support of the family. She was a secretary. Although I imagined that secretaries did not earn that much money, my Grandmother always seemed to have an abundance to share. There was never a moment when I felt that my Grandmother owned anything that she felt was irreplaceable, or that she felt was hers only. If there was a need or a want anywhere that my Grandmother felt she could fill, she never hesitated.
This was an amazing lesson. I was not sure always how to take it, but the message evolved into a deep understanding of ‘all needs always being met.’ Her trust in that, her trust in God, in the Divine, was flawless.
The story my Grandmother liked to tell about me, over and over, was this: When I was 2 years old, apparently I was very sick with a bad cold or flu. Because I wasn’t breathing well, my Grandmother sat up with me all night in a rocking chair, so I could sleep upright on her chest. Sometime, in the middle of the night, she says that I sat up and looked her in the eye and said, “Thank you, Grand-Mother.” She told me that I said it very deliberate and sounded like an adult. She said it made her feel like I was an old soul. She was very moved by my words and repeated the story often.
I was lucky enough in my life to say ‘thank you’ to my Grandmother many, many times. And I will never stop.
Thank you Grand-Mother.