I marched yesterday.
I wish you could’ve been there.
I wish we could’ve marched together.
There were a lot of other grandmas there, one even looked like you. Another one laughed like you and there was another one who hugged someone the same way you used to hug me.
I thought about you a lot.
Do you remember the election of 1998?
I remember laying on your lap election musings playing in the background as you played with my hair. You told me that you remember when women couldn’t vote. I was aghast. ‘But grammy, I thought girls could do anything boys could do.’ And that’s when you held my face and looked me into the eyes and said don’t forget that sweetie, you can do anything boys can do and oh so much more. Then you told me of the ways you and your mother fought for our right to vote.
Do you remember December 21st, 2004?
We stopped for gas. A women walked out of the bathroom. She looked familiar but I didn’t think anything of it. She and you exchanged words I saw you give her money. When you climbed back in the car, I asked what that was about and reminded her we didn’t have a lot of money.
“Honey, I’ve seen her in her car in the Safeway parking lot in the middle of the night. Times are tough for her right now. Even though we don’t have a lot, we have more than we need. So you give. And even when you don’t have all you need, you need to give what you can, because then you get to experience the kindness of the human race and that’s what gives us hope.”
Do you remember March 11th, 2006?
Probably not. I don’t remember how it came up. I do remember we were making your famous fried chicken and I was asking you so many questions about your life and what you’d hope for mine. Now, nearly 11 years later, it seems out of the blue—but you said, “baby girl, remember your body is yours, and if anyone thinks it’s theirs, they are wrong. Remember it will take time, but you will heal. Remember, you have the choice and that choice is yours. You don’t have to share it with anyone, but remember it’s easier if you do, it feels less heavy that way.”
I never told you grams, because I was scared and ashamed. Two days earlier a pregnancy test came up positive.
I recently found out the same thing happened to you—and you didn’t have the choice. Mom told me about the alleyway and the coat hanger.
I’m so sorry you had to go through that.
I am so eternally grateful that because of you and others, I had access to medical professionals.
Do you remember June 20th, 2008?
I rolled my eyes and let out a huge-angsty-teenage sigh because I had just been summoned to jury duty. You yelled at me. Okay, you didn’t yell, you used your grandma voice and reminded me that you remember when women couldn’t serve on a jury. You fought for that too.
August 21st, 2009:
The day you co-signed on my student loan because you could and you couldn’t always do that. And because I was the first female in our family to not only graduate high school but graduate college.
Thank you grams. Thank you for paving the way for me. I vote because of you. I made choices about my body because of you. I served on a jury because of you. I am a boss. I can say no to my husband. There are so many things I can do as a woman, because of your contributions to the fight for equality.
I marched for all the nasty women that came before me and those that will come after me
AND, it’s not over.
Thank you for instilling in me a passion to continue to stand up for the oppressed and marginalized.
Thank you for passing the torch, I carry it with great honor and pride.