This time of year always makes me think of my Grandma Dotti. In 1926, she was born just 3 days before Valentine’s Day. When she was 6, her Mother died. Her life was a life of extremes. She got married young, had two kids and got divorced. Later, she married the same man again and then got divorced again.
She was a red haired model who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at one point. She had two scales in her bathroom to double check her weight. For many years, she struggled with alcoholism. I remember the smell of her apartment, the way she drank diet coke with a straw and lots of ice. She always had on a full face of makeup and she drove a little red convertible with the top down and the music cranked.
After she went to heaven, my Mom gave me her journal. Tonight I read the last line in it for the first time. Up until now, I’d never wanted to reach the last page. I suppose it feels like it’s the last little piece of her that I could still hang on to.
Here’s what the last line in her journal says:
I feel very, very okay about going to heaven when the Lord calls, very, very okay.
When I think about Grandma Dotti, her life and her struggles, and then I read that last line again, it makes sense to me that she was very, very okay with going to heaven when the Lord called. She hadn’t lived a perfect life, but she’d had the courage to love well. Even though she’d messed up, she knew deep in her soul that those she loved, knew how deeply she loved them.
It’s like I can still feel it—-When she squeezed my hand, she squeezed it hard. When she hugged, she didn’t let go. When she wrote a note, she decorated the envelope with hearts and smileys. When I called her, she answered like it was the highlight of her week. Her life wasn’t perfect, but my goodness, she loved BIG.
What I love most about her is that she never let anyone put her in a box. She left a giant mark on this world and she couldn’t have done that if she’d played it safe and tried to tone it down. She was never created to stay calm, to be quiet, to keep the music low or to not dance.
Oh no, she was a fiery redhead that broke all the molds. She was a feeler and she loved her people like her heart was attached to them. She got hurt too, and then she got back up again and continued to love with a big, mighty, hold-nothing-back kind of love.
In my life, I’ve sometimes felt like I’m just too much. Like I feel things too deeply, like I get too excited or that things affect me more than they should. Then I think about Grandma Dotti and the big imprint she left on this world. She didn’t leave a big mark by living quietly and carefully. She had the courage to be “too much”.
Do you ever feel like you’re just too much or that you feel things too deeply? If so, maybe God made you sensitive for a reason. Have the courage to love your people well. Be bold girl, you’re one of a kind.