Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Endings and Beginnings -- Part 1

Our son Matt and his lovely girlfriend, Nhu, came home for the Thanksgiving break. We planned not one, but TWO feasts for the time he was scheduled to be here and then, the day before they arrived, we got a phone call that my grandmother had died. They decided to delay the funeral until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it still didn't give some family members the time to get home as all flights the weekend after Thanksgiving are booked solid.

I took my grandmother's death very hard. This was surprising as I wasn't particularly close with my grandmother. She was my father's mom and when I was six years old, my parents divorced. My dad, for whatever reasons, didn't make seeing me and my sister the priority that it should have been. Since he didn't pick us up on his weekends, and seldom had more contact than around Christmas - we very rarely saw that side of our family. They just sort of faded into the background. I missed them as we had been a very tight knit group who spent a lot of time together and I thought of my male cousins the way most folks think of siblings. For a long time I felt the empty space and wondered what was wrong with me that they didn't make a point of including me more often.

In later years we reconnected and I was surprised to find how much I was like my grandmother. We had so many of the same personality quirks and attitudes about things. We both delighted in conversation and a full house of company. We loved to feed everyone and never wanted to waste time washing up when company was still there to chat with. We loved some of the same weird foods and had the same circadian rhythms. We had the same profile and the same mother lion piercing gaze when our family was vunerable to anything. Family was THE steadfast priority.

Most of the family was her steadfast priority. And that unfinished business is why her death was difficult for me. My father died when I was 16 and I never got to ask him why I was ignored, postponed, abandoned.

I didn't have the courage to ever ask. It seemed somehow impolite and I didn't have the words. I kept meaning to have that conversation with my grandmother - ask her the difficult questions - but it was so much easier and more fun to laugh with her and enjoy what little time I made to see her in my busy adult life. I regret not having the hard conversation. I just never could find the words.

1 comment:

Pelagian Poet said...

Some men just lose themselves in the world, to the world, and they never make or find their way back to the truly precious. It's sad for the children, it's tragic for him because he never knew what a wonderful daughter he brought into this world.

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing that.