Back in November, I introduced to you a new, ongoing series of posts I’m calling “This Women I’ve Met.” Inspired by a piece written my mom and role model (which, if you haven’t read it, can be found here!), this series’ primary goal is to share the stories that need telling: the transformative travel and life experiences of the courageous, strong, and grace-filled women in my life. This project is becoming more and more important to me because, although we all have different stories in different geographical locations and have been impacted by different people and different experiences, we have a lot to learn from one another. And that is worth celebrating.
A strong woman in her own right, my dear friend Cassidy shares in this, the series’ second installment, a poignant tribute to another strong woman: her grandmother, Marjorie Evelyn Summers.
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Something More Lovely || by Cassidy Hettema
Aqua eyeshadow carefully applied on deeply wrinkled eyelids. Fuchsia lipstick. Matching nails. And toenails. Perfectly coifed hair. A southern drawl. Storyteller. A warm smile. Laugh lines set deep into a deep soul that had traversed deep valleys.
Her mama’s death at the tender age of 4. Her drunken father. Her violent step mother. Hiding under the bed playing mama to her baby step sister. Keeping her safe from the bottle’s rage. Dirt floors. A poor Florida girl. Leaving home at 13. Working. Hard.
This is my legacy. This is my Nana. And the above is not the story.
A handful of miscarriages
A broken marriage
A risky remarriage
This woman I’ve met. This woman I’ve known. This woman I’ve loved. Somehow she painted a world in which the dark and the light, the aches and the joy, the death and the rebirth all dwelled together. And this coexistence did not compromise. It enhanced. She lived a life in which the hurt did not scar. It wounded, yes, then shaped, and finally healed into something more lovely.
Her fierce love for her children. Her steadfast love for her granddaughters. Her persistent love for her friends. Showing up unannounced. Inviting herself in. Brownies in hand. Overnight bag just in case.
This is the story:
A best friend to everyone
A lunch date for every day of the week
A companion to the dying
A party thrower
Often for herself
A gift giver
A legacy leaver
A fiancé in her 80s
This woman I’ve met. This woman I’ve known. This woman I’ve loved. Somehow my heart knew she was different. Eighty plus and ready for an adventure. Jet skiing. Fishing. Seeing New York City just for the Christmas displays.
My heart. Oh, how it aches. Can I keep painting a world in which the dark and the light, the aches and the joy, the death and the rebirth all dwell together? Will the swirly stormy clouds contain streaks of iridescent gold to fill the gouges of life? Can I be something more lovely because of loss and death and longing?
Cassidy Hettema is a Florida girl! Born and raised in Jacksonville, she moved to Tallahassee for school and has lived in the Florida Panhandle ever since, now with her husband, Kyle, and their 11 month old son, Anders. After spending several years teaching the 3rd grade, Cassidy now leads the Children’s Ministry at Four Oaks Community Church. Cassidy loves thrift-shopping, doing yoga, and listening to thought-provoking podcasts. She is a dear, dear friend to all and is truly a model first-time mom! Thanks for sharing, Cassidy!