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  • This is a very long story about my grandmother and how she needed a head injury to get rid of her ghosts. We can wait 80 years for that, or we can change it before and avoid the wasting of time and life. If it was easy...


    My grandmother was a woman in front of her time. In the late 40s she was a female entrepreneur, who started a fashion business that have given my family a very good life.

    My grandmother's social ambition was above her family. My mother and her siblings carried the traumas of their mother's lack of maternal feelings throughout their lives and to their children.

    My grandmother had status and physical standards that she put it above any and all. It was never said but the rule was almost like 'you don't have to be lovable or nice to people (unless you needed them), but you have to be successful and, of course, skinny and extremely beautiful'. If you were born with weight propensities or not on the 'beautiful standards', you were destined to received less attention, a lot of headache from her and a very, very low self-esteem.

    For obvious reasons, we are one traumatized family. We all (four children and eight grandchildren) struggle with the values she passed on to us. It is as if she is inside us, telling us that we and others are not beautiful, skinny or successful enough, and that it matters!

    She was a monster to have around, we were all always very angry at her. My family, once very close, was driven apart by her after my grandfarher died. She has driven us crazy through ruthless, excessive comparison, she put us against one another.

    The opposite side of all this is that she was always an extremely honest person, who helped us whenever we needed (and we did all needed her), who was the driving force behind a family of extremely strong, intelligent and determined people. If there is a common feeling among us about her, it is admiration.

    As I grew older, I was able to realize that my grandmother was a lonely person, with a very low self image that led her to behave during a lifetime the way she did, pushing people away, bringing misery to everyone around her because she needed to 'step' on people to feel better, and to be the centre of attention to compensate. (She was also bipolar without ever accepting or treating it)

    When I think of it now, I can imagine her suffering with her attitudes but feeling unable to pass through pride and the need for reassurance.

    It is crazy that a woman like her needed reassurance! On her days she was everything women wanted in life, and a lot of us still aim for it today. She was a successful business woman who worked with fashion and was reference in town and in the state! She had a loving husband and four beautiful children! She had traveled the world, lived in beautiful homes, had summer and countryside homes. She had love. What else she needed?? The one thing that mattered the most: her own approval about herself.

    The Old Age:

    Since she retired at the age of 80 years old, she started loosing her memory and struggling to accept the old age, as for her values, staying young was the up most goal (several plastic surgeries and the golden rule of never calling her grandma in front of other people are very good examples). Last year, she fell, hit her head and stayed in comma for three days. The person who woke up from the comma was a very different one.

    My new grandmother doesn't always recognize us and thinks that her dead loved ones are alive. She is lovable, accepts help of others, her condition and, most importantly, her age. The family that once avoided her and even hated her a lot of the times, now is able to give her love and make peace with her.

    This last chapter of my grandmother's life gave me a lot to reflect. Life is mysterious sometimes, a head injury changed everything and enabled her to have a dignified life at old age, while bringing her family together around her. She doesn't suffer with her limitations, she doesn't suffer with her losts and her mind miraculously filters the good memories.

    The head injury didn't change the person she was, she still likes the same things, but for some reason, she is now ok with who she is. I realized that the excessive standards that she put on us, she had put harder on herself. We were all traumatized by it, but she was much more. She is not a different person now, only a person that existed under the veils of her craziness.

    We all loved to meet this new person and just like that she has received forgiveness from her family without ever saying sorry. For her children, who spent a lifetime seeking maternal love and now somehow are able to receive it, her sorry it is just a technicality.

    God must think she has done something right.

    Now let just hope that her version inside of us also suffers a head injury.
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