Things My Grandma Taught Me



-Garden Rose, photo by Cathy Pouria

I intended this next blog post to be about planting tomatoes, peppers and onions (and we’ll get to that in the next post), but then we lost my grandmother last week. She was a talented gardener who inspired me in many ways, so I thought it only fitting to dedicate this post to just a few of the things she taught me during her “great run” (as my husband puts it) of 90 years, both about life and gardening. 

About Caring-

My grandma had the greenest of green thumbs. Raised on a farm in Eastern Kentucky, there wasn’t a plant that she couldn’t grow, and during the weeks I spent with her during the summers of my childhood I watched as she cared for her plants and tended her garden. Her caring nature extended beyond plants to all those around her, family, friends and neighbors. One summer when I was about 9 or 10 years old, every so often we would walk around the corner to a little house. I loved going there because there was an old barn and grounds to explore, but that’s not why we went. We went there so my grandma could care for a very elderly woman who was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and was no longer able to leave her bed. Her family needed help with the round the clock care she required, and so off we went. I don’t remember what, if anything my grandma explained to me beforehand or after, but I do remember her actions while we were there. The woman called my grandma “Ada”, and although that was not her name, she went along with it. “I’m here.” she’d say cheerfully, and “I have your bananas and milk” as she fed her with a spoon. A child, I played outside, wandering in and out of the house and noticing how my grandma talked to and treated the woman with respect and dignity as she fed her, changed her diaper, and sat with her. She did all of this out of the goodness of her heart, because her neighbors needed help and because caring for others came as naturally as breathing air to her. The memories of our time in that house have stuck with me vividly for my entire life and became especially poignant in later years as my grandma’s own dementia began to worsen. I knew how to treat her, and others, and how to approach it with my own children because she taught me all those years ago. She taught me that we can preach caring and kindness to our children until we are blue in the face, but the most important thing we can do is to show them. 

About Reaching Out-

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