25 August 2009

the battle cry goes up

a dear friend of mine lost her grandmother this past week. She was 89 - she had two children, seven grand children and, so far, 10 great grandchildren. This is not supposed to be a sad time - my heavens - what a full and perfect life. But my sweet friend is so very sad.

It is because of a matriarchal phenomenon. Because when a woman has that much of a legacy, she is often the glue holding it all together. She is the rallying point. Losing her is like losing sight of the flag in battle.

Just the battle of life - nothing more pressing or dramatic - but really that battle is pressing and dramatic. It is a battle of raising your children correctly, of picking the right spouse and the right church, of conforming rightly to the right belief system. Of wearing the right dress. And wording the thank you notes correctly. And goodness knows of preparing the right meal.

It is a battle we women know well. Our men, well, they are usually fighting a different life battle - the battle of putting food on the table and all that entails. But the women - well - we are the ones making it livable. What's the point of bringing home the bacon if its microwaved for dinner?

Warning: Long Parenthetical

(My roommate my sophomore year in college, when i was pregnant with my daughter, was desperate to make sure i ate all i needed to eat. So she bought bacon. And eggs. And she microwaved them both. And all that did was make me so much more morning sick. But it was so sweet. i still cherish and get nauseated by those memories)

So this wonderful woman, Granny, died last week. By all accounts she lived an ideal life - a life worth living, as they say. a God-glorifying life. And while everyone is upholding the joy of a full life lived, they are all a bit unglued and directionless.

Is it bad of me to hope that one day i'll leave those I love unglued, if only temporarily? I think it speaks even better of Granny that they are unable to let go - to simply readjust - that they are unable to find a new flag so quickly. She is the rallying cry - how sad if she were to be so easily replaceable.

In a way, how wonderful that they are lost.


  1. It's interesting, as a woman working full time while her husband stays home with the baby and also usually cooks dinner, how that dynamic will affect the legacy I'm leaving my children. Will Josh be the glue that holds us together? Or do I still have the chance to enjoy that space...is it the emotional strength that I bring to our family that is the glue or does it take the physical presence, the act of cooking instead of appreciating a well-cooked meal by my amazing husband. Who knows? Can't help but hope I'll still manage to be the flag of this family.

  2. I loved this post, Ann Lowery. My grandmother was exactly like that to me and when she died last year, we were all flapping in the wind. Many of us still are, still squabbling, still in denial. But, I totally agree with you about legacy and what we leave behind. In the crazy and disorienting world we can live in at times, we have to find those people that ground us and keep us steady and when they're gone, remember the things about then that kept us that way. - Marie Baker

  3. Lindsay -
    I was in the same boat for the first year and a half after eason was born. I can say that I was still very much the one holding it together - i think its something in the maternal/feminine spirit. But I think Josh will always hold a special place - a place a lot of men don't get to hold. But now that we've been in the opposite roles for a year, Paul still very much has a special place. Who knows. I see a matriarchy in your future matched only by a few, no matter how much you're cooking or bringing home the bacon. When you have that strong feminine spirit, i think it just happens.

    Marie- i think its great that you get to feel that way about your grandmother!