Irene’s Heart

Do you have someone in your life that has a heart you absolutely admire? 

My someone that comes to mind, is my grandma Irene. You may remember me writing about her before. I’ve mentioned her ingenuity for making the best of hard times and her strong work ethic, among other things. What I haven’t told you about is her heart. 

Part of me wants to say that she had a heart of gold, but that isn’t really accurate. Her heart was actually filled with an abundance of many vibrant colors. When I think of her heart, I picture a mid-summer wildflower bouquet outlined by the shape of a heart. 

The Multiflora Rose’s pink represents her overflowing compassion. The Cornflower’s blue stands for that twinkle in her eye when she saw us coming down the sidewalk. The Ox-Eye Daisy’s white showcases her beautiful light that radiated around her like someone flipped a switch. The Goldenrod’s yellow highlights her love for not only her own family, but for everyone she met. 

Grandma was one of those grandmas you just want to keep forever. She was present in my life from the moment I was born. She did all the sweet stuff that grandma’s do like: crotcheted me my first sweater for kindergarten, gave me those old fashioned Valetines, sent me cards, came to my activities, and spoiled me on the holidays. 

Even after I grew up and went out on my own, grandma was there for me. She was my pen pal for many years and I have letters she wrote me at every address I ever lived. She was definitely  a keeper. 

I hear that grandma’s mom was the same kind of person grandma was. Never met a stranger, adored her family, and knew how to work hard. Great grandma actually came over on the boat from Germany with her family and settled in Iowa. How I wish I could’ve met her. I bet she would have had some stories to tell. 

She passed away before I was born. Turns out her and grandma had more in common than just being great people. They both had sick hearts. We lost them both quite young. Great grandma was age 59 and grandma was 71. 

I found out recently that I have some heart issues. I called my great aunt to tell her. She and grandma were friends/ sister in laws for over 50 years. When I told her, her response was probably the most bittersweet thing I’ve ever heard. “Oh Jessi, you got Irene’s heart?”

Since that phone call, some time has passed. I’ve had a chance to work through some things in my mind and I’m actually settling into things a bit. I’ve been thinking a lot about grandma’s life and the way she lived it in her short time here. She gave her life everything she had, sick heart and all. 

There is such a huge lesson in that. 

Hmmm. Maybe I’ll call my great aunt back and tell her I realized what a privilege it would be if I were to even have a smidgen of the love, compassion, twinkle, and light grandma had, and that, genetics aside, I am beyond proud to have inherited Irene’s Heart. 

8 thoughts on “Irene’s Heart

  • This was lovely!! I am glad you think of this relationship this way (and you wrote about it so eloquently). You know, since I’ve started writing about my great grandma and her daughters, I have felt a special connection that I find hard to explain. Yours also has a physical dimension. This post made me smile.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, sweet friend. I love how we have this connection. You and your research and reading all those letters, etc and me tripping over myself trying to get my family stories on “paper”.

      Love what you said about a physical dimension. Here’s something hardly anyone knows that you will love! Grandma Irene’s mom, my great grandma, had a baby pinky toe that was short and fat and didn’t match any of her other toes. She passed before I was even born, and guess who was the only one to get her pinky toe??? :)

      Liked by 1 person

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