Grandma Emily’s Story

I could just write a regular post blog about my grandma’s life. However because she was such an important figure in my life I decided to highlight her story. I also truly believe that I owe it to her where I am today.

My grandma was an exceptional woman and the story of her life was extraordinary. She was born in 1921 in a happy and wealthy immigrant family in Detroit. But her mother was missing Europe so much that she managed to convince her husband to return to the old continent. If they only knew what is ahead, they would never make that decision.

One of the first things she could remember was the sweet smell of apple pie that filled their house every Sunday. Emily and her two older brothers enjoyed their childhood on a Polish countryside so much, it was happy and peaceful.

When they were a bit older it became obvious that the brothers will take over the mill and sawmill and continue the work of their father. Emily as the smartest and most talented one dreamt only about medical studies and becoming a doctor.

However she knew that if she followed the regular path for women in that era and marry early, she will probably never achieve that. That’s why she was rather distant and haughty and focused on learning much more than dating.

Until one summer Sunday…. Emily met the man that would stomp her off of her feet. She fell in love instantly. Interestingly enough, that love was reciprocated. There was only one issue – her loved one was a priest.

If that scene would be shocking to some today, you can imagine it in the early 1940’s. Both young and in love, they could not think of anything else but their happiness. They planned their future in every detail and decided to make it happen. They had no idea that the world had other plans for them. WWII broke out and changed their lives forever.

In a blink of an eye Emily lost her loved ones, and was forced into marriage with a man she hardly knew. In uncertain post war times, her father attempted to protect her and gave her husband property and a small business as a dowry.

Because of that my grandma felt incredibly insecure and dependant through her whole life. She felt like all the decisions were made for her and no one considered her opinion.

She couldn’t believe that suddenly from a young girl, in love, with hopes and dreams for the future, she turned into a woman experienced by life, trapped and with no hope.

There was only one person she could confide in – her beloved priest….

I was blessed to share a very special bond with my grandma. In her own way, she made sure I would not follow her path, but instead of telling me what to do, she told me stories about war, love and life choices. Each one of those stories contained important life lessons. She wanted to shape my mind to think independently, to make my own choices, to live with my decisions.

I made a lot of mistakes in life. Got caught in toxic relationship and life that wasn’t truly what I desired but rather a ready social pattern. The day my grandma died I made a promise to myself I will turn my life around. That I will find joy, that I will stop making choices based on what others might think. That I will be brave enough to be me, to do what makes me happy.

And you know what? I did it! Thank you grandma for watching over me. I know that you are happy to see where I am today.