Powerful Conversation: A 10-year old interviews her Grandmother

While at a presentation, Tony had the opportunity to meet Sarah Ryan. As a nurse, she connected deeply with Healing Conversations and the power they bring to relationships. Excerpts from Sarah’s letter are below, highlighting an interview Avery (Sarah’s granddaughter) did for a school assignment. Out of the interview came an amazingly insightful poem, through the eyes of a 10 year old.

 

Dear Tony,

My grandchild Avery, when only 10, asked if she could interview me last Thanksgiving. She and her classmates were given the assignment to “interview the oldest relative there”…this was me! We went into another room for privacy, and I hesitated to share some sad memories with a child so young. I had had two significant losses in m life, of which Avery had been told about, but “we” never talked about them: losing my mother when I was seven, and losing my husband before she was born. She only knows her “Grandbuddy” from his pictures. But Avery has a sensitive and intuitive side, way older than her years. Although taking a risk, I felt I could share my story honestly. I was also able to share some of the possible and positive outcomes when blessed with a supportive and nurturing environment – my sister, just three years older than I, took over as a house-mother much too early and with too much responsibility, and a loving and caring father who attended to all the details of both a Mom and a Dad.

 

In remembering some of the questions she asked, she began with, “Where were you born?” I described the city, its safety at the time, and while naïve and much too young, I used to ride downtown by myself on the bus (for five cents at the time) to do my own shopping at the age of eight.

 

She asked, “Did you have any fears when you were young?” I explained that even though my Mom had died, I felt I could “trust” that my sister and father were there for me. Many years before, however, there used to be a “ragman” who went by our house peddling old clothes, and I believe as a toddler that I used to freak out and cling to a parent if I ever saw him. In retrospect, which I may not have discussed with her, I did fear losing my husband while married, most likely because I loved him so much and also because of the early scar of losing my much beloved Mom. Despite not discussing the loss of my husband, her poem captures my losses.

 

I believe she asked, “What are your interests now, and how do you live your life?” I shared how important it is to me to continue learning; that I recognize how blessed I am to have been able to do that and to receive degrees in a caring profession; that love doesn’t end with loss, and how I have realized how those I loved have provided me with the necessary strength and stability for a confident life. We discussed some of my travel experiences and the opportunities they’ve provided for learning about myself. In addition, I’ve had the opportunities to see diverse cultures, behaviors and customs that may contrast with ours, but give insight into others and what motivates them.

 

Avery began her poem with the year I was born, and ended with the color of my hair. But her rendition of my life “blew me away” with how she captured my fears, how I developed insight, and ultimately strength and confidence. This was truly a Thanksgiving “gift.”

All the best,  Sarah Ryan

 

1940

1940…

A life began

You were ready to show our world

Solely purity and joy

 

Newark

Was a lucky community

To have you within it

Your independence

Your fearlessness

Of those busy city streets

Would serve you greatly later on

 

The rag man

May have then frightened you.

You laugh now

In that “Boogie Man’s” face

Just like how those times of despair

Now teach you hope

 

Your Mom and your Buddy

People you cared for most

Were ripped away from you

Too suddenly

You long for them to come back home.

 

Bravery

Like an explorer

Wandering fearlessly into unfamiliar places.

Courageous

Discovered peace and euphoria

Made your family proud

Made me proud

 

Your intellect

Is that of a queen,

A goddess with wisdom

From years of experiencing

Triumph and despair

You show me how to lead a good life

 

Today

Your hair is the hue of freshly picked apples

A crisp autumn leaf

Waiting to fall silently

In anticipation of a long, icy winter

Your eyes are a calm green sea

Filled with life and curiosity

 

A life began

1940

 

(written by Avery Moore, Age 10)

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