Saturday, March 10, 2012

Then & Now Musings

I've devoted a lot of brain power the past couple of weeks to my Grandmother. She is 95 and still lives at home. KB, Feeche and I went to see her last week-end. Obviously a lot has changed in her life, house, and circumstances from when I was a child. Anyway, I've been talking to folks in the Chicago area a lot more than I normally do and, you know, that have a distinct sound. I talked to a gentleman from there today and his inflections reminded me very much of my Uncle Hank. I went all nostalgic on myself, kind of like I did a few times last week-end in Chicago. The what was vs. the what is. The sweet memories and love and warmth of family and place that is no longer. My life has always seemed a bit out of order to me, mainly 'cause it hasn't followed my plan. But the fact that I'm grieving my Grandparent's home and thier significance in my life after I've grieved my parents home and place in my life, seems...odd. Out of order. Like, don't parents die after grandparents. Seriously. And why, seriously, why, as Flower puts it, is everyone in my family dropping like flies. Gram has been more than just Grandma in my life. She has been....strong and uncompromising and courageous. She has been my role-model on so many levels.

Gram has been sharing more stories, including all of the "hush-hush" ones (of which there are many, and significant ones at that) more and more. I'm honored by the telling. Saddened by how horrifically brutal her life has been, amazed at the beauty and redemption she found despite devastating circumstances, proud of the good life she and my Grandpa eventually made for themselves and their two orpaned children. It is a love comes softly story and more than one person has told me I need to write it.

Gram told us many stories last week-end of Mom and Uncle Hank and Grandpa and would always say, "Those were good times." And my own memories of thier house growing up, the love there, the gifts and warmth- they were good times. Good memories. I have in my mind's eye a picture of thier living room. It is clean and warm and full of rugs and books. There is the fragrant smell of pipe smoke, the sound of a baseball game going in the living room, the yellow butterscotch candies glowing like gems on the consol by the rocking chair. Gram's knitting, smelling like her, and her cups of coffee, always half full and somehow always warm. I am loved there, and considered and accepted. And Gram and Uncle Hank and Grandpa are there, smiling and only slightly irritated when we walk in front of the baseball game for the umpteenth time. Good, kind people that were full of joy at our presence.

Gram says she wants to sit down in her rocking chair, go to sleep and die. When she wakes, the people that she loves, the people that loved her will be waiting. Grandpa, Hank and Mom, Dad and Sue and her Momma and Sister and Brothers. She's always said she'll live to be 110 and maybe she will but I've never heard her talk about dying before.

I am praying that God gives me wisdom beyond myself to show this woman whom I have loved and respected my whole life honor and care.

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