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Dear Grandmother, 
It’s been almost a year since you joined our ancestors. My soul misses you. 
I’ve never been able to explain the connection I feel to you and your heart. Your voice, your touch, and your smell always made me feel at ease. The moments we sat in silence were my favorite.  
I felt a rush of love, hope, joy, trauma, and brilliance when you left us. I felt you, and I felt me. I felt us.  
I’ve been gardening. And, I am finding the lessons you planted for me in the soil. When I feed and care for the plants, I feel your vibrancy in what we grow and the food that we eat. I feel the wind and I know it’s you reminding me of what it takes to cultivate life and abundance.
Lately, as I pull the carrots and clip the eggplants, I notice the lessons of brilliance you still pass to me- 
  • Pruning leads to growth. Cultivating brilliance with plants, children and ourselves takes intentional pruning. We must learn to cut what no longer serves us because it will make room for new growth, new experiences, and new beauty.  


  • What you put in, you will get out. For brilliance to flourish with plants, children, and ourselves, we must fill our own cups with nourishment, kind words, water, and sun. 


  • Intentionality leads to long-term sustainability. Plants (and people) need to be introduced to the conditions and the partners that give them the ability to thrive. For example, planting a tomato plant with a marigold plant can keep harmful bugs away. Giving a child exposure to Black art and music can inspire them to notice and nurture their own brilliance. 


  • The slowness of growth is beautiful. Plants and children grow at their own pace, so we must take time to notice brilliance as it emerges. If we take moments to notice and respond with precision, we can encourage strength and make room for liberated growth. 


As always, I am grateful to you for passing these lessons to me and allowing me to pass them to others.  
I love you, 

Shawna Pearl