My last living grandparent passed away tonight. Rest in peace Keith. We are all born innocent (McLoughlin).
His effect on my life has been profound (besides the obvious fact of existence), and his passing makes me ponder the effects of karma (past actions). For example, my grandfather was a sex offender. I hardly spent any time with him as a youth. As a result of his actions, my mother was super cautious when it came to sexuality with her children. We could not watch a couple kissing on tv, for example. I was not allowed to go to my eighth grade dance. My clothing was conservative. I was told I could not date until age 16, and did not have a real boyfriend until after high school.
Similarly, my mother was strongly affected in her twenties by her young brother's tragic death involving alcohol and diving. We never had a drop of alcohol in our home. My mother has still never had a drink of alcohol. Beer commercials on tv would prompt a swift channel changing. I did not have any experience observing people using alcohol (positively or negatively) until I left home and went to college.
I am also feeling so grateful for my mother's handling of the abuse that occurred in her family. It seems to be common amongst women to absorb abuse and not perpetuate it or externalize it in its original form. This obviously had health implications for her (holding that energy in her body) that are still not totally resolved, and may never be. But what a gift to be able to stop a gruesome cycle of abuse. My mother is an amazing woman.
We are all products of each other, and as such we increase health and happiness of humanity by striving to be better people in spite of what life hands us. My mother and grandmother's daily spiritual practices are huge reasons that we grandchildren are generally successful, productive people. Important to remember and continue their traditions.