I had originally intended to post this at the 1 year anniversary as a memorial to my beloved Gramma, but after reading this post by another blogger, I just felt the need to get it out of my system.
I miss you. It's as plain and simple as that. I see your picture everyday as I look on my dresser. Most days looking at it brings twinges of guilt that I didn't visit you more often, bring your great grandchildren to visit you, and in general didn't spend more time with you. I sometimes wonder why you didn't visit me more often as well. Often I wonder if you realize the impact you had on me both as a child growing up and as the adult I turned into. I often catch myself correcting my behaviors as I wouldn't want you to see me acting like that and be disappointed in me.
You taught me so much just by who you were, how you reacted to situations, events and obstacles that were thrown your way in your lifetime. Other people that knew you say they see the same tenacity, stubbornness, and strength in me. I don't agree with them for the most part. I manage to make it through everything that's thrown in my path, sure, but I don't think I do it nearly as gracefully as you did. Thank you for showing me that anything and everything can be overcame, learned from, and even prospered from.
Even though your gone away from us Gramma, you continue to lend me your guidance and strength. When faced with what seems like an impossible situation, or my heart and soul are aching from disappointment, I hear your voice in the back of my mind telling me that in time it will all work out, to pray, to keep my emotions from overcoming me in front of the kids and Daniel because they need me to be there to show them that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, things WILL get better, learn the lesson that there is to glean from it, and most of all to let it strengthen them. I find myself wondering what you would do in a specific situation, how you would handle it, and go from there when dealing with it.
Gramma, most of all, thank you so much for being there for me. Even if it is just in my memory. I miss you so much that it hurts, but I'm glad that your gone away from all the pain that had been plaguing you in recent years, and that your burdens are gone.
I love you Gramma,
It's been a difficult journey for me, learning to let go of Gramma. I haven't even went down to visit Grampa once this year for fear of having a total meltdown being in her home because of the realization that she's really gone and not coming back... her not being there. It's much easier to distance myself from it than deal with it I suppose. Perhaps I'm not ready mentally to deal with it in a huge in-my-face kind of chunk like that. I'm not totally sure in all honesty. I was kicking myself pretty hard about the fact that I hadn't went down to see Grampa the other day and my Dad called. Of course, Dad knew something was bugging me so he pressed me on it and I finally 'fessed up to what it was. Of course Dad tried to make me feel better about my lack of visiting but in the process ended up opening a Pandora's box of reactions in my mind.
"Quit kicking yourself Sis. Ok maybe you should have at least went down and had lunch with Grandpa, but it's not like you've not had much else going on, Dad understands why you haven't been down. Let it lay"
"Dad it's not that easy, I can't just "let it lay" as you so eloquently put it. He's down there all by himself and Lord knows what kind of mess that house is in *sigh*."
"Ya it's probably a mess that's making Mom turn over in her grave, but he's a grown man, he is more than old enough to know better, it's not your place to take care of him. If anything it would be my place but that's another can of worms. Gramma would understand why you've not been down there coddling him, and to be honest, and I want you to think long and hard about this one Chris... Your home burnt less than a year ago, you kids had to basically start out from where you were 10 years ago after your divorces but now have 4 kids at home to take care of and contend with, where back then you only had 2 at home. Three of those kids are teenagers and Mom knew all too well what nightmares teenagers are."
"Ya but Dad....."
"No 'Ya but Dad'-ing me on this Chris...Your doing what your supposed to be doing, taking care of your family, providing for them, and rebuilding a home for them. Just like Mom did after Grampa Joe died for me and your Aunt K. Your making her proud doing what your doing, and how your doing it so quit kicking your own ass so hard and take some time to enjoy it. THAT'S what Gramma would have wanted, you know it just as well as I do."
"You want to tell me that I'm full of shit don't you but your not because you know I'm right"
"Shut up would you *sigh*"
"Heh heh, ok Delores, oh I meant Chris..."
About that time his cell lost connection and our conversation dropped but he was right. I could almost hear Gramma telling me that Grampa needed to learn to take care of himself for once in his life and I needed to learn that I can't take care of everyone all the time. MY family, the one I have at home, were the ones that needed me the most, even if they refused to say it in so many words.
(Why I felt the need to throw that in this post I don't know, I'm just going with the flow of my mind atm...sometimes it's just best that way.)
Now my Gramma wasn't one to lavish gifts on her grandchildren, or spoil us rotten as most Grandparents do. When her and Grampa came to visit, there weren't lavish gifts handed to us as they came in the front door, but there were always hugs and kisses with a lap to sit on later on. When we went to visit or stay with them, we weren't met with sweets and cookies, but rather with meals at regular times with snacks between times. When we were told stories, they weren't out of books, but rather of hijinks our parents or aunts and uncles had pulled as children, of how Gramma and Grampa had grown up, what it was like back way-back-when. An outing with Gramma and Grampa was a simple drive to church, the coffee shop, grocery store, Gramma's weekly Thursday shopping trip and the highlight of that trip was picking out your cereal for breakfast and your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid (soda was nonexistent at Gramma's house unless you were sick, and then it was 7-Up to settle your stomach), over to the neighbors to pick sweet corn out of their field for supper, and if you were REALLY lucky, go golfing with either Gramma or Grampa and get to keep score and drive the golf cart. Amazingly simple and rich at the same time kind of things. While some of my cousins were never happy going to visit Gramma and Grampa, there was a handful of us that would BEG to go to Gramma's house. It was like stepping into a different world for us in so many ways. Out of those 5 particular grandchildren (one of them being me), 3 of them were city kids, born and raised while me and my cousin who is a year younger than me were bona fide country kids. All of us had one thing in common though. The only time we all got together was at Gramma's house. It was a precedent that started in childhood to last throughout our lifetime. How ironic it is to me that the last time all of us got together was Gramma's funeral. I hope we didn't bury our too infrequent get togethers with Gramma.
So many things have changed in the last year. Sometimes they seem overwhelming for me. Somehow, someway, I find the fortitude to get through them, one step at a time...just like Gramma did.