Tomorrow I turn 42 and I wanted to share some thoughts from this past year.
The two biggest events this year were that we are getting ready to welcome our seventh child and my grandmother passed away.
My grandmother was a force. She was the quintessential matriarch and almost everyone gave way to her. Like most people forged in the era of the Great Depression, she worked very hard and had a great appreciation for family. She always seemed happy, except when she was upset about something. That happened a lot actually, though it was usually short lived.
She had an affinity for dyeing her hair and it was only in her twilight that she stop doing so. The picture I had originally wanted to show was similar to the one above, but with a kids birthday crown and her attempt at a smile. (Right, she didn’t smile when she was smiling. She could totally smile, but just not when she tried.) This was a picture from the last time I saw her, and it has superseded most other images of her, so I posted this one. I’m still going to try and find the birthday picture.
I very rarely saw any kind of emotion from her, save when we went to visit grandpa’s spot in the wall. All she said, in a broken voice, was, ‘I love you, papa’.
Her second son passed in 2002 and even then I did not see a great change in her, but that was grandma.
Grandma was also my last grandparent. With her passing comes a macabre realization that my own parents are next in line. The conversation I have with my parents now involve topics of what we will do after they are gone. Those conversations as are not as difficult as I had originally thought they would be, but I still feel unsettled discussing the topic.
My father was born when my grandmother was 18. He commented that his mom had been a part of his life for 72 years. I really don’t have the context to fully grasp what that is like. My grandfather passed away in 1991 and I was young enough for it not to have a major impact on me. My maternal grandparents also passed away in the 90s and my memory of them with somewhat abstract. But not grandma. She was a force. And now she is in heaven trying to convince Saint Paul that he is really a Lutheran.
Happily though, there is another family member coming along to help fill the void. Nature abhors a vacuum. He doesn’t have a name yet, so we have been calling him, ‘baby what’s-his-face’, or ‘baby sierra three-five’. I imagine we will have a name in a few weeks.
I can’t help but wonder if this kid will inherit grandma’s spirit, a-la Avatar. That would be an interesting ride.
And so it goes.