Lessons from my grandmother’s life that I only realize after her passing

My grandmother passed away on October 29th, at the age of 89. Remembering my interactions with her and re-thinking how she lived her life, I realized that some of the career choices I have made are strongly influenced by my grandmother. This was a revelation to me.

Here is what she (subconsciously) taught me:

  1. Own your destiny
    My grandmother absolutely rejected the idea of abandoning her home and living under someone else’s care. Even after she reluctantly accepted to have a live-in helper, she insisted that she did most of the housework herself and took care of herself. All her life, she believed that if you wanted something done, you would do it yourself. Actually, I do not remember she ever telling this in words but her every action was a confirmation of what she believed.
  2. Be strong and be approachable
    She had a tough life, especially earlier on. Being the oldest of three daughters to a carpet tradesman, they did not have much to live on. She had to take care of her younger siblings to allow their mother to take care of their household when every housework was a manual task. She developed an enormous amount of strength and drive, which was visible until the last days of her life. Despite this drive, she never lost her human touch. Always genuinely happy to interact with her grand kids, I remember my early interactions with her with a smile on my face.
  3. Get things done first, rest later
    As you may get the picture, she was a go-getter. When I was a little kid, I would watch her in autumn when she prepared for the upcoming winter. She would make tomato paste, pasta, dried soup mix, sausages, pickles and many other staples for the winter. Everything was hand-made. She was known as the machine, who would get her preparation done and go help others.

Now she is gone but the lessons I learned from her will always be with me.

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