Grandma and Grandmasters


My grandmother’s funeral was today (fathers side). She passed last Friday and I was blessed to see her the day before her passing. She was a shell of her former self, but there were signs of consciousness, of life, right up until that point.

I ranted pretty hard in a Facebook post about my experience last week that never saw the light of day because of sharing settings (it was on a photo my brother’s wife sister posted). It was probably for the best.

My bro and gram's holding hands in the final hours.

I’ll save rants about life and death for the future.

It was awesome having my brothers and pops all together at the same time. It’s easily been over 20 years since the team was together like this.

Me, Mario, Pops, Elliott, Lindsay and Stevie

I saw a bunch of family I haven’t seen in a long time. I also got a better understanding as to how we are all related. Teenage me was too focused on joining a Shaolin Temple to care about figuring out any of those familial connections.

Me, Grandma and Elliott

I saw Grandma pretty regularly growing up but didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her. After she got diagnosed with cancer I made an extra effort to see her anytime I was in Milwaukee. She was super religious, but super cool too. Every time I came to see her she was trying to get me to go church with her. Church really ain’t my thing, but I made it out with her and pops once.

Grandma's Obituary

Reading her obituary and reflecting on her life put perspective into me standing here now messing with my phone. Grandma had all kinds of struggle, ups and downs in life to bring pops into the world. Pops had to navigate extremely turbulent waters himself to bring me into the world. Lord knows I’ve had my share of ups and downs in life (the digital realm being heavily slanted to the ups) to get me here.

Lineage, as a martial artist, is extremely important to me. I can go a little overboard with thinking about all of the people and events that brought me to where I an now, but Grandma was just as important as my two greatest martial influences.

Grandmaster Yin
Grandmaster Huang Xingxian

I want to argue that Grandma was even more important, but it’s really a balance. Grandma, my genetic lineage, the yin to the yang lineage of my of instructors.

Grandma worked extremely hard to check in on me in her later years. A lot of it had to do with concern over my religious alignment and making sure I was following proper moral code.

Religion and traditional martial arts have a lot in common in that respect. Thinking about Grandma’s concern over my following proper moral code makes me want to redouble my efforts to stay on the path of virtue. Both to pass on the virtuous light I was blessed to encounter martially and to honor the efforts of my grandmother to make sure I found this light.

Peace out Grams. We’ll catch up on your other side, or on my reconnection to the infinite.


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