Yesterday morning, I visited my grandmother’s grave.
I never met her.
And I wish I knew more about what kind of a person she was. Yet I felt more connected to her than I ever have before…
The last few days I’ve taken a lovely little trip down memory lane.
After a beautiful wedding at Chateau Thanvillé in the Alsace region of France, a few of us spent a perfect afternoon in Strasbourg, then on to a memorable afternoon and evening in Paris. Good conversation over a glass of wine along the River Seine… it was magical.
But even more special was taking the train north through France and Belgium to spend some nostalgic time in Holland.
I biked along the famous canals in Amsterdam, singing out loud as I did. And then I visited my cousin and family including my Goddaughter just outside of The Hague, where my Mum was from.
We walked along the famous boardwalk in Scheveningen where I have so many special memories from as a child, had dinner on the beach where I used to love to play (and watched as my cousin’s kids were doing the same) and witnessed a glorious sunset over a nice little borreltje (drinkie.)
We ate poffertjes and bitterballen ~ two traditions and dutch musts.
And then we visited my step grandmother, the only grandparent figure I remember as a child.
Although she married my grandfather later in life when my Mum was already an adult, growing up when we would go and visit my mother’s family in Holland, it would always include a stop to our beloved Bommie’s place. And because we wouldn’t see her very often, she would always spoil us rotten when we did. A visit was never complete without a trip to the local toy store!
She’s now well into her nineties, in a home and in a wheelchair, and although she still looks great, she’s not quite the same Bommie I remember.
And then we went to go and see my Grandmother’s grave…
Again, while I never knew her, I felt more connected to her than I ever have.
Strangely enough, the anniversary of her passing falls on the same day we buried my mother. I didn’t realise until that moment.
I also realized for the first time my mother was 24 when she lost her mother, the same age I was.
Yes, I had a moment.
I spoke to my grandmother, I spoke to my mother.
I expressed gratitude, love, and tears, as I asked them both to continue to guide and watch over me.
This short, but very special visit to Holland couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
At first I was disappointed I wasn’t going to be able to hike any of the Camino as initially planned, given my broken foot.
And yet maybe everything unfolded exactly as it was supposed to. I’ve felt more connected to my mother recently, and being in her hometown was even more comforting than I imagined.
It got me thinking about my past, my present, and my future.
Now I know we’re only supposed to live in the present – in the here and now – and yet I don’t think that means we have to ignore what has come before this moment, nor what lies ahead.
In fact, I think if we want to live in the here and now as powerfully as possible, we need to acknowledge our past and at the same time look to our future.
We need all three.
While at times some people can be tied too heavily to what has already happened, and are not able to truly be where they are, we can’t ignore our past, either.
And although constantly looking too much into what may or may not be in our future sometimes prevents us from being here now, it’s also important to look ahead from our current view.
We’re now entering into the second half of Summer. (Is it just me or is it going by far too quickly?!?)
There are still pools to jump into, patio conversations to dive into, ice creams to indulge into.
So enjoy each moment as it comes, knowing it’s okay to get excited for all that is yet to come, while also reminiscing on good times already had.
Just don’t spend too much time ruminating you end up living more in your head than you do in reality.
It’s important to live in the present, yes.
And it’s also important to acknowledge both the important role the past has played in bringing us to this moment, as well as the important role this moment will play in how we choose to live into the future.
Acknowledge the people, too. Important figures and relationships are everything. And if there is someone you haven’t been in touch with as much as you’d like recently, reach out to them. Even if they are no longer with us, you can still talk to them.
Yesterday, today, tomorrow.
Past, present, future.
So interconnected… and we need them all.
How’s that for some light Friday philosophical thoughts as I get ready to hop on the plane and head back to the other side of the pond, eh?!?
And now I’m curious… how is your present moment touched by your past or by what is yet to come? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.