Who were Jessie and Elizabeth?
Each of these remarkable women were one of my grandmothers. Jessie Mary Thompson Strain was my paternal grandmother. When she died, she was my best friend and it was so hard to let her go. Her life and her influence have patterned so much of who I am today.
She and my grandfather lived quiet and simple lives that taught us about life, love and family. When a family crisis that involved mental illness and divorce rocked my very young world, they opened up their home to my father, my brother and me and, once again, took on the responsibilities of raising a family.
Not everyone is blessed as I was by such a close relationship with a grandparent. The many ways that she molded and shaped me as a young girl still remain with me today. Because my biological mother had been hospitalized throughout my childhood and I never knew her, Jessie was more like a mother than a grandmother to me.
Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Remine Strain was my great grandmother, the mother of my paternal grandfather. Her short life was much harder and her desperate circumstances were much more tragic than Jessie’s had been as was very common for the time in which she lived. Literally living in a log cabin with a dirt floor, her life was filled with intense poverty. Tuberculosis had become a thief that was destroying lives and devastating families all around her. It took the life of her infant daughter and, when she was only 33, it took Mollie’s life as well, leaving her six small children and desperate husband devastated and heartbroken.
Mollie died long before I knew her but, 108 years after she died, I discovered a letter that she had written and a few of her photos. That one letter told me so much about her! Of course, I would have loved to have known her more, but I am so grateful for that one letter. In it, she shared her heart. Her words revealed a young mother that had a deep love of her family and a kind and gentle countenance.
But this story isn’t about me. It is about you.
Have you thought about the legacy that you will leave behind? Are there members of your family that you were very close to in your early years that are no longer with you? Have you thought about honoring their memories by telling their stories while you also tell yours?
At Jessie + Elizabeth, we are purveyors of scrumptious natural skincare products that are loaded with goodness and nutrition for your skin. And, while we seek to pamper and care for you with our artisan products, they are simply our platform for a much bigger message.
We hope to motivate and inspire you to become intentional about recording those stories that may be lost forever if you don’t take the time to write them down.
Like me, you probably love your children and grandchildren deeply. One day, they will become grandparents with stories of their own to tell to those that will follow after them.
We would like to encourage you to become intentional about recording those stories that, perhaps, only you know. Bring honor to those that you love and, in so doing, strengthen your family.
Would you share your story with us and join the Jessie + Elizabeth family? Send your story to us at shareyourstory@JessieandElizabeth.com. We would love to use parts of it in a blog post to motivate and inspire others. Your words could become just the catalyst that someone else needs to help begin to tell her own story.
Build stronger families. Share your family’s story and encourage others to share theirs. #JandEshareyourstory