My tough-it-out stubbornness comes from my mother and her mother before her. Talk about pioneer spirit -- we have extremely strong women in our line. Mom has a good support system now and can take care of her health and well being, but she didn't have much when she was young. I don't think Grandma ever did, until her very last years when her kids took on her care.
Grandma was raised a Quaker, and she married a Presbyterian pastor (who also served a Methodist church in Healdsburg and the federated church in Placerville). They had four kids, very little actual income, and he died when the youngest, my mother, was eight years old. By the time I started to know her, Grandma already had early-onset Alzheimer's, but in Mom's youth, I think she was just eking out a life as best she could. She was pretty hard on Mom, and when she was old enough, Mom went to live with her older sister for a while. She also relied on good teachers and other adults for support, encouragement, and kindness.
The reason Grandma comes to mind in connection with my fall is that she had a few accidents herself, like the time she fell out of one of her two huge cherry trees in her back yard. She was in her 70s, at least, and had no business up there, but she had always picked her cherries and canned them, and a little age and muddled thinking weren't going to stop her. If she cut herself, she'd pour some Lysol on the wound. Why not? It kills germs, doesn't it? She was just a no-fuss, get-on-with-it kind of person.
I didn't realize it in my youth, but I think now that my grandmother was quite racist. I knew that she preferred the blue-eyed blonde grand-kids over the brunette ones. My sister and my favorite cousin have now-funny-but-not-so-at-the-time stories about how she treated them. She even preferred blonde pets, and always had beautiful collies. We didn't call it racism back then -- we didn't realize it was a major problem in greater society. We didn't have much connection with the bigger world, didn't even have a television until about 1965, and just figured some people are more difficult than others.
After her funeral, we found ourselves sitting around talking about Grandma. There were a lot of negative memories -- some funny, mostly healed, some still quite tender. None of us really wanted to end the afternoon with her shortcomings foremost in our minds, though. We wound up talking about her strength, her stubbornness, her stoicism. Those traits weren't always easy to handle, but passed on to the rest of us, and softened by kinder, gentler genes over time, Grandma's legacy is serving us well. But I'll still go see the doctor today.