Wisdom of a Grandmother / by Mahting Putelis

Aina Holland birch tree - Mar 30 2018 - 6-24 AM - p1.jpg



My grandmother recently passed. No one could have asked for a more peaceful passing. After an evening with her daughters, she went to bed and slipped into an eternal sleep.  

While the world engrossed itself into the first half of the Super Bowl we delved deep into the memories and influence of my grandmother, Aina Holland. This amazing women, at 17, taking the boots off a dead soldier, literally walked across Europe evading the terror of Stalin. She went on to become a leader within the Business and Professional Women Foundation earning a lifetime achievement award a few years back. She lived with style. A style born from the mind of an architect, artists and big city lover.

As the stories were told many simple truths that emerged about how Aina had lived. They were: 

Put your best self forward - Aina cared not of what people thought of her she cared about herself. In the most simple terms she had an incredibly high level of self respect. She would never want you to show up unannounced as she would want to make sure she was ready to present her best self. Her approach is in direct contrast to the age of people wearing their pajamas ands house slippers to the store.

Upon dispersing her possessions one thing I took was a little plaque that reads "It doesn't matter what people say, it's matters what people". That piece of wisdom is something I am coming to understand in depth this year. Being in relationship with people is key. The overabundance of "likes" is no match to sitting across from a human and discussing life.   

Speak your truth - There are three parts to this idea. The first is self explanatory, be honest to yourself and share that with the world. The second, is to respect and let others do the same. Aina always allowed for and participated in civil discourse. She would delve into your position seeking to understand while staying true to herself. Third, Aina was a pillar of her many communities spanning her long life. She lived by her truth and engaged her communities to try and make them a better place. We as individuals have to go be ourselves out in the world. We can't hide out behind computer screens.  

Live with passion - Aina had more style than you would ever think could fit in her little apartment. As an lover of all holidays, particularly Christmas, Aina was an amazing hostess. Every single time I stepped foot inside her apartment the table was set. The amount of different complete sets of linens, glassware, tableware was truly astonishing. Mostly because you would never believe that it would all fit in her place. It was just her thing, she was so detailed in the presentation. 

My grandmother, Aina Holland, lived a full and tremendously impactful life. May we all be better for it.