Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life and Death

This is more of an in between post than a regular blog. My last surviving grandparent died last Thursday due to age and pneumonia. She would have been 91 this coming Thursday. So basically as soon as I started feeling better and thinking about tackling the great Christmas undecorating of 2013 we got the call that my grandmother was failing. By the time I'd called my aunt and talked to my dad and started hustling out of Target it was too late to do anything. Even though I wasn't particularly close to my grandmother (she was a very reserved and undemonstrative woman) just the whole process of attending the funeral and dealing with my family was very draining. She lived about two and a half hour's drive from the cemetery where her husband is buried, so even though the funeral proper is over we still have to gather again for the burial. Not exactly what I wanted to do this week.

Losing someone you love is hard. I got very attached to Allen's grandparents in a pretty short period of time. His grandfather, for instance, was quite a man. Apparently, when Allen told him that he was interested in a girl named Natalie, Granddad said "Oh, I like Natalie." I think he'd met me once or twice at church when he came to visit his family. And then, after Allen and I got engaged, I asked his grandparents what they'd like me to call them. Grandmom sort of hemmed for a moment while she thought about it, but her husband turned around and said "Call me GRANDDAD!" And he was my granddad until the day he died. These were people I didn't have to know very well in order to love them and learn from them and feel that part of my life disappeared when they died. Granny, on the other hand, I don't know. I always loved her, but there were times I didn't know what to make of her of what she made of me. She'd try to shake hands with Allen at Christmas time, but he'd just give her a hug anyway. Christmas is probably when I remember her the best. For years she gave all the grandkids an ornament engraved with our name and the date. Some years we got a beanie baby too. We all loved those ornaments. I probably have a dozen or close to it, and they're some of my favorites every year when we decorate the tree. Beyond that though - I'm not sure. It makes me sad that someone so closely related to me can die and not leave a bigger whole in my life. It's not that I want to be big sobby mess for the next six weeks.  It's just - she's my grandmother. In a sense our mourning is a tribute to the other person's ability to come into our lives and be part of our story. Some people can do that in ten minutes. Other people struggle to do that in twenty-nine years. I know which person I'd rather be.

On an unrelated note I am jotting down ideas for future blog posts, so hopefully I'll be more consistent on this in the future. At any rate, I've got one that should go up by the end of the week.

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