“I wish I had been more wild and wooly”, she said, holding my gaze before she closed her eyes again. It was two days before she passed away. I sat there on the edge of her hospital bed holding her hand in my hand, stroking her forehead with the other one. I still remember how soft her skin was and how fuzzy her hair felt. She always had a perm.

In the days before her death, she was in and out of wakefulness. In her lucid moments she would repeat “I love you. I love you.” I would squeeze her hand and say those words back to her as many times as I could before I choked up. I made sure she could feel me beside her.

Her hospital room was intimately filled with her children and grandchildren. Each one of us had begun the grieving process wanting to find peace with what was about to happen. Each one of us secretly feeling like we were her favourite. Coveting all the private moments we had had with her over the years, wondering how we’d ever get along without her.

As I watched over her, I wondered what her mind was doing as her body prepared to transition from this world. I decided that whenever she closed her eyes she was able to travel through the memories of her life, scanning each one, re-living her choices and experiences. I believed she was taking stock of her big, beautiful life.

And possibly, “I wish I had been more wild and wooly” was her conclusion.

Margaret was my grandmother. She was 95 and a half when she left this world. Today marks the one year anniversary of her passing.

I’ve wanted to write about her for a long time. But, how do you put into words the magnitude of love you have for someone? I still don’t know.

People talk about legacy. About leaving a mark on the world.

What I know for sure is that my grandmother left a legacy. She showed me how to impact lives in a way that really makes a difference. She modelled love in every aspect of her being.

Margaret taught me that the most important thing you can do for someone is believe in them. I watched her acknowledge the beauty in people until they could see it in themselves. She showed me that physical touch, hugs, rocking and snuggling are the most nurturing things you can do for a child. And that a hot water bottle, flannel sheets and a hot cup of tea can make anyone feel better. And when your kids are driving you crazy just pull them in close and hug them a little tighter.

My grandmother was a magical person to me. I miss her presence in my life every single day.

When I struggle as a mom I ask myself “What would Gram do?”

When I feel self-doubt or question my own worthiness I hear her say: “I wish I had been more wild and wooly.” And then, I’m not so scared anymore.

Dear Gram, it’s been a year of firsts without you. I’d give anything to eat your pancakes today.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

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Thank you for reading this very personal post. I hope that some of Margaret’s love and magic reaches your heart today.

If you’d like to leave a comment below, you know I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Comments

(51)
  1. Tears streaming down my face, friend. Beautiful. Poignant. And makes me want to call my Mom and Dad to ask about my own Grams (sp? Plural?). They both died before I was born.

    Margaret is beaming. What a beautiful gift she helped nurture in you. I’m so grateful we are friends.

    xoxo

  2. Thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful. I treasure everyday that I get to spend with my Granny who recently turned 92. Family is so important and I think sometimes we get so busy with day today things that we forget about stepping back and enjoying time with them. I always tell patients when they are going to visit there grandparts to treasure the time you have with them.
    Hugs to you
    Jodi

  3. Beautiful, tender and vulnerable. Thank you for sharing. Margaret was a very wise lady, what most people never find out in their lifetime, she had it in abundance. May you continue to grow and nourish those around you Jan with the big heart you have.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful post, Jac. I love it so much. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and feelings in such an intimate way. I lost my husband of 28 years, last year, so I can relate to the feelings of grief you describe.

    Let’s all live wilder, with more love, and as much grace as we can. Let’s honour their memories.

    x

  5. Thank you Jac. Your Gram sounds like a beautiful soul. My heart knows this loss as we hold onto the memories and love our passed-over family members offer us.
    The piece that I hold most dear from your story is in my desire to live a full life, to reach those far reaching years of my life and know that I did live fully, that I broke through those moments of self doubt and unworthiness and persevered with my heart open and full of trust.
    I will hold this statement in my heart as a message to keep going even when the fear shows up.
    Again thank you. xo
    Brenda

  6. Well that one got me! I’m in tears over here. I lost my memere 4 years ago and was with her when she passed. She was so dear to me and made the best pancakes ever. She’s definitely been with me these last few days giving me strength. Thanks Margaret for all you taught your beautiful granddaughter, she’s passing it along to all the women she coaches and mentors! xo

    1. oh stop it. Now I’m all teary (again). So much love to you my friend. I bet our Gram’s are hanging out up there, watching over us.
      Love
      Jac

  7. Thank you for sharing this beautifully honest and tenderly loving story (and gorgeous photos). My grandmother just passed away this month, and the last words we shared were, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Still allowing this new reality to soak into my cells and soul. Grateful to you. xo

  8. This is so beautiful, Jac. The title just drew me in because those words of wisdom about living “wilder” always encourage me. And then to read about your wonderful grandma made me tear up. I lost my 94 and a 1/2 year old grandma two years ago, and I feel/felt about her much like you feel/felt about your grandma. They are special people, those grandmas who love so much! Thanks for sharing your story, and reminding me of mine.

    1. Thank you Lisa. Many people want big incomes, best-selling books, lots of FAME. I want to leave a legacy of love like my Gram did. Hopefully, I will. Lots of love to you, sweet soul. xo

  9. That’s beautiful. Someday we’ll chat about this in person and I’ll share my thoughts .. Thinking of you today and I empathize with the deeply seeded “secret anniversarys of the heart” . Xoxo

  10. What a beautiful post Jac, one filled with such love, such tenderness, such wisdom and such connection. Your grandmother sounds as if she was a beautiful being with such a light filled soul and such a loving heart…and you know what? You, too, are such a being…xo

  11. YOU are Margaret. When I read these words I saw you emanating all the beauty and love and kindness and wildness you saw in her. She lives on through you.

    I love you so, dear sweet friend. Xoxo

  12. This is beautiful, Jac. Thank you for having the courage to share what is a very personal story, and a universal one too. You clearly have some very special memories of your grandmother. I love what you wrote about her legacy and how she taught you that the most important thing you could do for someone was to believe in them. I’m sure this must have impacted you as a coach, as well as in your personal life. I never knew any of my grandparents, although I was blessed to have two wonderful surrogates. Our loved ones give us the gift of their presence whilst they are with us, but as you know, their legacy lives on in the things they said, the example they gave and the food they cooked. Or, as someone once said to me, ‘They live on through us.’ And in us too. Thank you Jac, for this sensitive, open and moving post. XO

  13. Jac,
    This is so beautiful Jac. I’m so grateful you found a way to talk about the love and loss you are experiencing. I was moved to tears reading this and, of course, thinking of my own grandma who I lost 14 years ago. Wishing you much love, happy memories and peace today and always. Thank you for sharing. Hugs,
    Susan

  14. “How do you put into words the magnitude of love you have for someone?” You did it, dear generous, loving Jac. You did it with grace, tenderness and with sweet, sweet detail. And those pictures…to see Margaret’s smile carried forward onto your own face…What a beautiful story of what love does for all of us, showing us our beauty and worth. I believe the magnitude of love you have for your precious Gram split all of our hearts open today, so wide, so vast, it could not be contained.

  15. Your grandmother was a beauty, her inner magnificence shining outwardly. How blessed we are to have female elders who’s lives continue to illuminate our paths! I am so happy for you that your Gram is with you as the love in your heart, and your shared wisdom that you now share w others!

  16. Jac – this post made me cry. Margaret sounded like an amazing woman! What a beautiful legacy she has left in her advice and the people she mentored. Thank you for spreading the love by passing it along to all of us through your beautiful self. What a gift!
    My grandma passed away in December at the age of 93. One of the most important lessons she taught us all was about the courage to love. Her and my grandpa were married for 67 years. She first taught me this when I was 11 years old and had a crush on a guy two cottages down who I had been hanging out with all summer. At one point, (do not remember why) I wanted to stay home and not go over to see him. My grandmother wouldn’t have it – she lifted me up, gave me a pep talk, and walked over with me arm in arm. Right before she walked home, she said good on you for trying! That lesson has never left me.
    That is what radiates when I read your post – LOVE! Big hugs 🙂

  17. You poured out your heart oh-so beautifully in this space to honor the memory and legacy of your Gram. May this day be filled with love, light, and laughter as you celebrate the lessons she taught you and pass them on to others. On a personal note, this post spoke directly to me as I prepare to enter motherhood for the first time. Thank you for sharing your gift!

  18. Jac, this was totally inspirational. I hope I’m happy with how wild I lived when I’m in your Gram’s position… Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. xo

  19. My heart is full of love and memories of my gram from reading this beautiful writing. Your Gram sounds amazing. Such an inspiration. It reminds me that it is the truly little things in life like pancakes, hugs, hot water bottles to name a few that create the memories of a life time. Hugs to you today and always. XO

  20. What a beautifully written tribute to a woman who obviously touched many lives. I feel the same way about my gramps, who also passed at 95. I feel his presence and wisdom with me everyday. I know you feel hers in your life, too. So many gifts passed on to you. So much wisdom. So very much love shared. Sending you hugs and love! <3

  21. Wow – such utterly raw and tender beauty in your words – thank you so much for sharing. It may have made my eyes leak a little… ! I was drawn in to read this post because the title resonated so much with where I am right now. My brother lost his darling wife Toni just a month ago & I lost a very inspirational sis-in-law. For a long time now, I’ve been hugely passionate about helping people to wake up and listen to their hearts to help them live their best life. I’m still very much processing my feelings after Toni’s death of course – but it has added a previously unforeseen level of URGENCY to reach out to help more people own their lives and not waste time faffing about… so I will share your post wide and far – thank you for sharing your heart with us

    1. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to write (and share) such a tender part of my life. Hearing the impact and knowing what other’s have been through like you, makes it feel like it is the best and most important post I’ve ever written. I am so sorry for your loss, Helen. I bet your sis-in-law is very, very proud of the work you are doing.

      Live wilder, dear one.
      Love
      Jac

  22. Hi Jac,
    Wild and wooly to be exact!( haha, LeighAnne gave me the inside scoop). Ok, Grammie…I guess its up to your granddaughters to do just that! I loved this Jacqui! Thanks for sharing. I know Grammie would be proud.:) xoxo. We are all just passing through. I know we will be sitting at the table with Grammie again, enjoying those fabulous pancakes.:)

  23. What a great post. Wow. Thanks for sharing something so personal — it’s very powerful.
    And what a statement: “I wish I had lived wilder.”
    I just love getting signs/messages that remind me what is most important. Thanks again, Jac.

    Kara

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